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Long-headed Poppy

Papaver dubium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Red, 4 petals
Similar in appearance to Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) but the petals are a lighter shade of red. The petals are dark at their bases. 2 sepals. Numerous stamens. The stigma is star-shaped.
A club-shaped capsule. Not hairy. The similar-looking Common Poppy has a near-spherical capsule. Its long-lived seeds ripen in August and September.
An annual flower with hairy, alternate, long, narrow, stalked and divided leaves.
Other Names:
Blaver, Blindeyes.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Papaver dubium, also known as the Long-headed Poppy, is a species of wild poppy that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is an annual or biennial plant that typically grows to be about 30-60 cm tall. The flowers are usually bright yellow or orange and have a distinctive frilly edge around the petals. The plant is commonly found in open fields, meadows, and along road sides. It is considered a weed in some areas, but is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. The plant is also known as the Longheaded Poppy, because of the length of the peduncle.


The Long-headed Poppy, Papaver dubium, is a striking and captivating wildflower that is native to much of Europe and parts of Asia. It belongs to the poppy family, which includes other well-known species such as the opium poppy and the California poppy. The Long-headed Poppy is known for its bright, showy flowers and its tendency to grow in disturbed or cultivated areas.


The Long-headed Poppy grows to be between 20 and 60 centimeters tall, and it has a slender stem that is often covered in fine hairs. The leaves of the plant are deeply lobed and are a bluish-green color. The flowers of the Long-headed Poppy are the most distinctive feature of the plant. They are bright orange-red in color and have four petals that are each shaped like a spoon. The center of the flower is a black spot that is surrounded by a ring of bright yellow stamens.


The Long-headed Poppy can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, roadsides, and waste areas. It is particularly well adapted to disturbed or cultivated areas and is often found growing in fields that have been recently plowed or cultivated. The plant is native to much of Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as parts of Asia.


The Long-headed Poppy is an easy plant to grow and can be cultivated in a variety of soil types. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun but can tolerate some shade. The plant is an annual and will self-seed, so it is important to deadhead the flowers if you don't want it to spread too much. The Long-headed Poppy is also a great plant for attracting pollinators to your garden, as it is a favorite of bees and butterflies.


The Long-headed Poppy has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It contains a number of alkaloids, including morphine, and has been used to treat pain and insomnia. However, it is important to note that the Long-headed Poppy is a powerful narcotic and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

The Long-headed Poppy is a beautiful and fascinating plant that is well adapted to a variety of habitats. It is easy to grow and is a great plant for attracting pollinators to your garden. However, it is important to remember that the Long-headed Poppy is a powerful narcotic and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. If you are looking for a striking and easy-to-grow addition to your garden, the Long-headed Poppy is definitely worth considering.

More Information about the Long-headed Poppy

The Long-headed Poppy has a long history of cultural significance, particularly in Europe. In ancient Greece, poppies were associated with Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, and were thought to symbolize the fertility of the earth. The plant was also associated with the god of sleep, Hypnos, due to its sedative properties.

During World War I, the Long-headed Poppy became a symbol of remembrance for the soldiers who died in battle. This was due in large part to the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, which describes the poppies that grew on the battlefields of Belgium. Today, poppies are still used as a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in war.

In addition to its cultural and medicinal uses, the Long-headed Poppy has also been used as a source of food. The seeds of the plant are edible and have a nutty flavor. They can be used to make a variety of dishes, including breads, cakes, and pastries. However, it is important to note that the seeds contain small amounts of opium alkaloids and should not be consumed in large quantities.

The Long-headed Poppy is also known for its use in traditional herbal medicine. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, asthma, and inflammation. The plant contains a number of alkaloids, including morphine and codeine, which have pain-relieving and sedative properties. However, as mentioned earlier, these alkaloids can also be dangerous if used improperly and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Aside from its medicinal properties, the Long-headed Poppy is also valued for its ornamental qualities. Its bright, showy flowers make it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping. In addition, the plant is known to attract a variety of beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, making it a great addition to any pollinator garden.

However, the Long-headed Poppy is also considered a weed in some areas, particularly in agricultural fields. The plant can compete with crops for nutrients and water, and its presence can reduce crop yields. As a result, some farmers consider the Long-headed Poppy to be a nuisance and take measures to control its growth.

Despite its status as a weed in some areas, the Long-headed Poppy remains a beloved and iconic plant that is deeply rooted in human culture and history. Whether you are interested in its ornamental, medicinal, or cultural qualities, the Long-headed Poppy is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination and inspire you with its beauty and resilience.

The Long-headed Poppy is also known for its ability to adapt to changing environments. It is a pioneer species, meaning it is one of the first plants to grow in disturbed or degraded habitats. This ability to thrive in harsh conditions has made the Long-headed Poppy an important indicator species for ecologists studying the health and resilience of ecosystems.

In addition, the Long-headed Poppy has been used in recent years as a model organism for studying the molecular biology of flower development. Researchers have identified a number of genes that are involved in the development of the Long-headed Poppy's distinctive spoon-shaped petals, and these genes are now being studied for their potential applications in agriculture and horticulture.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Long-headed Poppy is just one of many species of poppies that are found throughout the world. Other notable species include the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), which is cultivated for its medicinal properties, and the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), which is known for its bright orange flowers and drought tolerance. Together, these and other poppy species form an important part of the world's flora and contribute to the beauty and diversity of our planet.


Long-headed Poppy filmed at Formby, Lancashire on the 4th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

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