Botanical Name: Papaver rhoeas
Species: P. rhoeas
Synonyms: Corn Rose. Corn Poppy. Flores Rhoeados. Headache.
Habitat :Papaver rhoeas is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Parts Used: Flowers, petals. It is a common weed of cultivated land and waste places, avoiding acid soils. Becoming far less frequent on cultivated land due to modern agricultural practices.
Papaver rhoeas is an annual plant. It is is a variable, erect annual, forming a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed. In the northern hemisphere it generally flowers in late spring, but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. . It grows up to about 70 cm in height. The flowers are large and showy, 50 to 100mm across, with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface, helping to distinguish it from Papaver dubium in which the hairs are more usually appressed. The capsules are hairless, obovoid in shape, less than twice as tall as they are wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule. Like many other species of Papaver, the plant exudes white to yellowish latex when the tissues are broken.
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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Landscape Uses: Border, Massing, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Does not do well on wet clay soils but succeeds in most other soils. Plants usually self-sow freely when growing in suitable conditions so long as the soil surface is disturbed. There are several named varieties selected for their ornamental value. A polymorphic species, varying in leaf shape and flower colour. When growing in cereal fields, poppies decrease the yields of nearby cereal plants. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ.
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring; Oil.
Seed – raw or cooked. Much used as a flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads etc, it imparts a very nice nutty flavour. The seeds are rather small, but they are contained in fairly large seed pods and so are easy to harvest. The seeds are perfectly safe to eat, containing none of the alkaloids associated with other parts of the plant. Leaves – raw or cooked. Used like spinach or as a flavouring in soups and salads. The leaves should not be used after the flower buds have formed. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Said to be an excellent substitute for olive oil, it can be used in salad dressings or for cooking. A syrup can be prepared from the scarlet flower petals, it is used in soups, gruels etc. A red dye from the petals is used as a food flavouring, especially in wine.
Constituents: Papaver Rhoeas is very slightly narcotic. The chief constituent of the fresh petals is the red colouring matter, which consists of Rhoeadic and Papaveric acids. This colour is much darkened by alkalis.
All parts of the plant contain the crystalline non-poisonous alkaloid Rhoeadine. The amount of active ingredients is very small and rather uncertain in quantity. There is great controversy as to the presence of Morphine. Also it has not been determined whether Meconic Acid, which is present in opium, is a constituent.
Anodyne; Cancer; Emmenagogue; Emollient; Expectorant; Hypnotic; Sedative; Tonic.
The flowers of corn poppy have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and children. Chiefly employed as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs, it also helps to reduce nervous over-activity. Unlike the related opium poppy (P. somniferum) it is non-addictive. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist. The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice. The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or made into a syrup. The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug. The leaves and seeds are tonic. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers. The plant has anticancer properties.
Dye; Ink; Oil; Pot-pourri.
A red dye is obtained from the flowers, though it is very fugitive. A syrup made from the petals has been used as a colouring matter for old inks. The red petals are used to add colour to pot-pourri.
Known Hazards: This plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low. The seed is not toxic.
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.