Herbs & Plants

Glaucium flavum

Botanical Name: Glaucium flavum
Family: Papaveraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Glaucium
Species: G. flavum

*Chelidonium fulvum Poir.
*Chelidonium glaucium L.
*Chelidonium glaucum Hill
*Chelidonium littorale Salisb.
*Glaucium corniculatum var. braunianum Kuntze
*Glaucium corniculatum var. flavum (Crantz) Kuntze.

Common Names: Yellow hornpoppy, Sea-poppy or Yellow horned poppy

Habitat: Glaucium flavum is native to Northern Africa, Macaronesia, temperate zones in Western Asia and the Caucasus, as well as Europe. The plant grows on the seashore and is never found inland.

Glaucium flavum is a perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate. It has thick, leathery deeply segmented, wavy, bluish-grey leaves, which are coated in a layer of water-retaining wax. The sepal, petals and stamen have a similar structure and form to the red poppy (Papaver rhoeas), except the sepals are not hairy. It grows up to 30–90 cm (1–3 ft) tall, on branched, grey stems. It blooms in summer, between June and October. It has bright yellow or orange flowers, that are 7.5 cm (3 in) across. Later it produces a very long, upright, thin, distinctive horn shaped capsule, which is 15–30 cm (6–12 in) long. It is divided into two chambers, which split open to reveal the seeds.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies.


Easily grown in any good well-drained soil. Requires a very well-drained poor soil. Prefers a hot dry position and dislikes shade. A very ornamental but short-lived perennial, it is hardy to about -10°c. Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible. Flowers are produced in the first year from seed.

Edible Uses: A clear yellow edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Glaucine is the main alkaloid component in Glaucium flavum. Glaucine has bronchodilator and antiinflammatory effects, acting as a PDE4 inhibitor and calcium channel blocker, and is used medically as an antitussive in some countries. Glaucine may produce side effects such as sedation, fatigue, and a hallucinogenic effect characterised by colourful visual images, and as a recreational drug. For a detailed bibliography on glaucine and Glaucium flavum see: National Agricultural Library. (Glaucium flavum entry)

In the past, it was known in Hampshire, UK as ‘squatmore’, and the roots were used to treat bruises. Also pains in the breast, stomach and intestines.

Other Uses : An oil obtained from the seed is used for as a fuel for lighting, it burns cleanly. It is also used in soap making.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Known Hazards: Root is poisonous.


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