Blooming right now: Poppy (papaveraceae)

The poppy is in the genus papaver and there are over 50 species in that genus. Papaver somniferum have different many different sub-species ranging from the opium poppy to  poppy that we get edible poppy seeds to the common garden poppy. In the past few years I have tried to identify the poppy that I have growing and I can never seem to find the right one. It seems to be the closest to Renee’s Garden “Heirloom Pepperbox” which turns out to have edible poppy seeds.

Papaver laciniatum is the sub-species that has all the beautiful ruffled and double poppies.

This is my third year for poppies. I originally got the seeds from my neighbor.  I would ask about the poppy I had and try to identify it at many of the garden-related places that I went to. What I really wanted to know is if the seeds could be used in baking. The poppy that I have found that it most closely resembles is Renee’s Garden “Heirloom Pepperbox,” but I am not sure I am brave enough to just go ahead and eat them. What I will do is order some from Renee’s Garden and plant them next spring.

It’s not that I bake a ton of things using poppy seeds, but I think it would be nice to never have to buy them again. I added store-bought poppy seeds to the top of the crackers I recently made. I have also added them to the soap I make, and I didn’t worry about using the ones I had collected from my poppies. When it comes to eating them, I would like to know I have the correct variety.

Last year I carefully collected the dry poppy seed pods so that I could control the amount of poppies that where scattered around and I could also have seeds to share with other people.

A few months ago I noticed a large group of poppies that were coming up on a pathway in a part of the vegetable garden.

All I can think is that when I collected some of the dried seed pods I must not have had a container with me and spilled a pod on my walk back to the house.

This “accidental poppy patch” is a lot further along in their growth then the poppies that are in the garden where I normally plant them. The accidental poppy patch starts to get more sun several week before the other area does. These poppies are about chest height on me. You can get an idea of their height next to the 5′ fence they are near.

More and more of the poppies are blooming now and they are absolutely stunning. I love wandering out there everyday to see them.

Do you grow poppies? What variety do you have? Do you know if your poppy seeds edible?

Sincerely, Emily

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22 Responses to Blooming right now: Poppy (papaveraceae)

  1. Jane says:

    I saw on our local news, A lady in our area lost custody of her newborn baby because she ate a poppyseed bagel and tested positive for opium when she went into the hospital to deliver. I guess they do a blood test on all moms these days. She has since regained custody, and I am sure a lawsuit is in the works. So watch out when you eat those crackers 😉

  2. Joanna says:

    Emily ! Guess what I have found the bread poppy seeds only a few weeks ago on a nice site called the real seed catalouge, shall I order some for you and post? I have one packet here that I was going to sow next time I turned the soil over and see what comes up. More than happy to send xx Jo

    • Oh wow! I had known about bread poppies but only just took then time to find seeds. I know I looked for them before, but didn’t find them (wasn’t looking in the right spot!). Thanks for the offer, but don’t send any just yet…. I ordered the two types that Renee’s Garden sells. I will sow them next fall. Thanks for the site you mentioned – that is a pretty poppy! Such a contrast from my bright red ones! It is too late to sow them here right now, it will be way too hot soon enough.

  3. Raymond Graham says:

    Renee’s Pepperbox Poppies are perfect for their seeds. I’ve used them for baking many times. (bread & muffins) Yum!

  4. dee d says:

    Those are gorgeous flowers. I look forward to my blossoms in June. Have the red one and an old-fashioned orange.

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  6. I don’t know why I never thought of growing poppies for poppy seeds. Now I am going to have to try this too.

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  9. Peter Fox says:

    I had a single poppy grow last year which must have been from a seed deposited by birds I took the seed from this single poppy and scattered then into a potted plant and the result is a mass of poppies growing in among the original plant The poppies which are now in flower are as shown in your photograph Can I transplant the numerous smaller plants currently growing into a more suitable container for next year or just take the seeds to plant again next year Is this type of poppy a perennial ?

    • Hi Peter, funny that you should ask. I was talking to someone a few weeks ago who told me that poppies are a perennial and I shouldn’t be pulling them up after they bloom. So I looked around online and found out that is only partly true. It depends on the variety of poppy and the area you live in. I have not been able to identify the beautiful red poppy I had growing, so I am not sure if it is annual or perennial. Annual specimens include Papaver somniferum (the breadseed poppy – edible seeds), Papaver paeoniflorum (peony poppies) and Papaver laciniatum (feathery double poppies.) I do not believe mine are perennial. They are just too dry and crispy by the end of spring, with dry crunchy roots. It I don’t harvest the seed pods then they will reseed by the g-zillions. Here is a link that lays out annual vs. perennial. Hope that helps.

      • Peter Fox says:

        Many thanks for your reply I will try to replant some of the poppies plants and also take seeds from the ones that are already in flower for next season They really do add some colour to the garden

      • Hi Peter, I will be curious if your do grow as perennials. What part of the world are you in? Enjoy your poppies!

      • Peter Fox says:

        I am based in Sheffield, United Kingdom in the county of Yorkshire

      • I hope your poppies grow well for you there. I am heading over to Duxford to a big air show in a few weeks time. Looking forward to it and then exploring the countryside near Chipping Campden

  10. Tai says:

    I was curious if your poppies have any bristels or whitesh hair on the actuals leaves like the egdes and underside margens? i have quite a few of Reene’s Hierloom Pepperbox poppies growing out now and they do have quite alott of bristles at least on the main lower cabbage leafs. mine have not yet bolted so i can not say about stems or flower buds as of yet..Yours are beautiful and Im sure they are the “good” bread seed type.. any way happy gardening ..sorry bout the typo’s

    • Hi Tai – the red poppies in the photos on this post do not have any bristles or whitish hairs on the leaves at all. I did scatter Renee’s Garden Heirloom Pepperbox seeds in another garden, but they have not germinated at all yet. I haven’t given up hope on the pepperbox seeds, there is still time here, it is still early. We have had no rain since early January so I am starting to water that area a bit to see if I can encourage them to germinate.

      • Tai says:

        Hi Emily sounds like we are experiancing the same weather It has been in the 30’s& 40’s at night and mid 50’s to 70’s during the days for about a month now ..We have been dry as well up here in the California foothills. Good luck with your Renee’s Pepper box poppies .. I scatterd a few packs around late the last week of Jan. and a few more the begining of Feb.. They came up in about 10 days and now have theirs 2nd set of leaves so I will be thining them out soon.. I did keep the soil moist with the hose tell I saw them pop I’m sure yours will spring to life with a little H20. The other Pepperbox from the same vendor and seed lot that I started last november are vigorous and have many long jagged lower leaves some as long as 16”X 6”… But they are still in the cabbage stage and have not started to send up stems yet! Some bread seed poppy seeds I started from the bulk poppy seed at my local supermarket have already sent up their stems with the lazy bent flower buds but I’m still waiting for the suprise win one decides to creep from out of its vail… I love poppies… and all from a seed the size of a grain of sand..

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