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Welsh Poppy

Meconopsis cambrica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, rocky places, towns, walls, waterside, woodland.

Variable in colour, 4 petals
Yellow flower but some are orange, up to 7cm.
Dark brown, long, 4 to 6-ribbed, barrel-shaped seed capsule, containing numerous seeds. The top of the capsule contains pores which enable the seeds to escape and distribute themselves.
Pinnately divided, pale green, stalked leaves. The leaf lobes have coarsely toothed margins.
Other Names:
Welsh Poppy Poppy, Yellow Poppy.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Meconopsis cambrica, commonly known as the Welsh poppy, is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family Papaveraceae. It is native to Wales and western England, and is also found in Ireland and Scotland. The plant is known for its bright blue flowers and prefers damp, shady and acidic soils. it is considered as a biennial or short-lived perennial. It is not as well-known as some other species of Meconopsis, like the Himalayan blue poppy, but it is still a popular garden plant due to its striking blue flowers and hardiness.


The Welsh poppy, Meconopsis cambrica, is a beautiful wildflower that is native to Wales and some parts of England. It is a member of the poppy family, Papaveraceae, and is closely related to the Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis betonicifolia.

Appearance and Habitat

The Welsh poppy is a perennial plant that grows up to 60 cm tall. It has hairy stems, bright yellow flowers, and delicate blue-green leaves. The flowers are about 5 cm in diameter and have four petals. They bloom from May to July and are followed by small seed capsules. The plant prefers moist, shaded areas such as woodland edges, rocky slopes, and riverbanks.

Cultural Significance

The Welsh poppy is a symbol of Wales and is often featured in Welsh art and literature. It is also the county flower of Montgomeryshire, a historic county in Wales. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as coughs, fevers, and stomach problems.


The Welsh poppy is an easy plant to grow and is suitable for rock gardens, woodland gardens, and wildflower meadows. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade. The plant can self-seed and naturalize, so it is important to deadhead it after flowering to prevent it from spreading too much.


Although the Welsh poppy is not currently considered endangered, it is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act in the UK. The plant is threatened by habitat loss, especially in urban areas, and by the spread of invasive species such as Japanese knotweed. Gardeners can help protect the plant by planting it in their gardens and by avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides.

The Welsh poppy is a beautiful and culturally significant plant that is easy to grow and maintain. By planting and protecting this wildflower, we can help preserve its natural habitat and ensure its survival for generations to come.

More Information about the Welsh Poppy

The Welsh poppy has a fascinating history and mythology associated with it. In Welsh folklore, it was believed that the plant had magical powers and was able to protect people from evil spirits. The plant was also associated with fairies, and it was believed that if you picked a Welsh poppy, you would be cursed by the fairies.

The Welsh poppy has also been used in horticulture and plant breeding. The plant has been hybridized with other Meconopsis species to create new cultivars with a wide range of flower colors, including red, pink, orange, and white. Some of the most popular cultivars include 'Lingholm', 'Gresham Pink', and 'Slieve Donard'.

The Welsh poppy is an important food source for several insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant is also a host plant for the caterpillars of the orange-tip butterfly. By planting Welsh poppies in your garden, you can help support local pollinators and increase biodiversity.

The Welsh poppy has also been used in art and literature. The poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, who lived in the 14th century, wrote a poem in which he compared a beautiful woman to a Welsh poppy. The flower has also been featured in many Welsh paintings, including the work of the famous Welsh artist, Kyffin Williams.

In addition to its cultural and aesthetic value, the Welsh poppy has also been used in scientific research. The plant contains several chemical compounds that have medicinal properties, including alkaloids and flavonoids. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-cancer effects.

The Welsh poppy is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways, including as a garden plant, a medicinal herb, and a symbol of Welsh culture. Whether you are interested in horticulture, history, or natural medicine, the Welsh poppy is a plant that offers something for everyone. By exploring the many facets of this fascinating plant, you can deepen your understanding of the natural world and the role that plants play in our lives.

The Welsh poppy is a plant that has captured the imagination of many people throughout history. Its delicate beauty and cultural significance have made it a beloved symbol of Wales and an important part of the natural landscape. In recent years, efforts have been made to protect and conserve the Welsh poppy, both in its natural habitat and in gardens and parks.

One of the most important things that can be done to protect the Welsh poppy is to preserve its natural habitat. This can be done through measures such as protecting woodlands and riverbanks, controlling invasive species, and limiting development in areas where the plant is found. In addition, gardeners can help protect the Welsh poppy by planting it in their gardens and avoiding the use of chemicals that can harm the plant or its pollinators.

Another way to support the Welsh poppy is to learn more about it and share that knowledge with others. By educating people about the importance of this plant and the threats it faces, we can raise awareness and inspire action to protect it. This can be done through activities such as guided nature walks, educational workshops, and social media campaigns.

In conclusion, the Welsh poppy is a plant that has a rich history and a bright future. By taking steps to protect and conserve this beautiful wildflower, we can help ensure that it continues to thrive and bring joy to future generations. Whether you are a gardener, a nature enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, the Welsh poppy is a plant worth celebrating and preserving.

Some Facts about the Welsh Poppy

Here are some facts about the Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica):

  1. The Welsh Poppy is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae.

  2. It is native to the United Kingdom, specifically to Wales and parts of western England.

  3. The Welsh Poppy is also known as the Yellow Poppy, Welsh Poppy or Welsh Poppy Poppy.

  4. The plant grows up to 60 cm in height and produces large, bright yellow flowers that are 5-7 cm in diameter.

  5. The flowers bloom from May to August, and they are pollinated by bees and other insects.

  6. The Welsh Poppy prefers moist, shady habitats and can often be found growing in woodland, along riverbanks and in hedgerows.

  7. It is a perennial plant, meaning it lives for more than two years, and it can self-seed, which means it can spread easily in the right conditions.

  8. The leaves of the Welsh Poppy are a distinctive blue-green colour and are lobed, giving them a fern-like appearance.

  9. The Welsh Poppy has been used for medicinal purposes in the past, and was believed to have a calming effect on the nerves.

  10. The plant is also sometimes used in horticulture as an ornamental plant, and there are several cultivars available that have different flower colours, including orange, pink and white.


Welsh Poppy filmed on Rivington Pike, Lancashire on the 18th June 2022.


Music credits
Chanter - Vadodara by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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