1. Family: Papaveraceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Papaver L.
      1. Papaver orientale L.

        Papaver orientale is a perennial poppy with large, red or orange flowers and bristly leaves. It has been a popular garden plant since it was introduced to western Europe in 1714. Many cultivars are now available, including those with white (P. orientale ‘Perry’s White’), pink (P. orientale ‘Mrs Perry’), deep crimson (P. orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’) and purple (P. orientale ‘Patty’s Plum’) flowers. Many cultivated varieties of oriental poppy are hybrids between P. orientale and P. bracteatum.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Papaver orientale is a perennial poppy with large, red or orange flowers and bristly leaves. It has been a popular garden plant since it was introduced to western Europe in 1714. Many cultivars are now available, including those with white (P. orientale ‘Perry’s White’), pink (P. orientale ‘Mrs Perry’), deep crimson (P. orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’) and purple (P. orientale ‘Patty’s Plum’) flowers. Many cultivated varieties of oriental poppy are hybrids between P. orientale and P. bracteatum.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Native to north-eastern Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and north-western Iran, where it inhabits the sub-alpine and alpine zones.

    Plant-collecting in Turkey

    One of the earliest plant-collecting expeditions to the east of Turkey was made by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort and Andreas Gundelsheimer, with Claude Aubriet as artist. The team set off from Paris in 1700 and reached Istanbul in early 1701 before sailing along the Black Sea coast to Trebizond (present day Trabzon). From there, they travelled inland, accompanying a caravan of around 600 men and animals for safety, reaching Erzurum on 15 June. During an expedition from there into the mountains, to visit the sources of the Euphrates, they collected seeds of Papaver orientale , which were subsequently grown in Paris, and then sent to England in about 1714.

    Description

    A long-lived, herbaceous perennial with deep taproots. The leaves are mostly basal, deeply toothed and bristly-hairy. The flowering stems are 30–90 cm tall, without bracts and usually bear a solitary flower. The flowers are red or orange and typically have four petals. The anthers are yellow or pale violet, and there are 8–15 long-ridged stigmas. The fruit is a capsule up to 2 cm long.

    A similar species of perennial poppy, Papaver bracteatum , has large, usually six-petalled flowers, with a dark blotch and bracts below the flowers. It comes from north-western Iran and the Caucasus Mountains.

    Uses

    Papaver orientale is cultivated as an ornamental.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in Kew's seed bank vault at Wakehurst.

    Description of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 0.2 g Collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: Three Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox Germination testing: 100 % germination was achieved on a 1% agar medium, at a temperature of 21°C, on a cycle of 12 hours daylight/12 hours darkness

    Cultivation

    Papaver orientale is a suitable perennial for planting in long, rough grass and herbaceous borders. After flowering, the stems and leaves can be cut down, and the leaves emerge again in autumn or early spring.

    This species at Kew

    Oriental poppy can be seen growing in the Duke’s Garden and adjacent to the Orangery at Kew, and in the West Mansion Border and Sir Henry Price Memorial Garden at Wakehurst.

    Pressed and dried, and alcohol-preserved specimens of Papaver orientale are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers, by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Distribution
    Turkey
    Ecology
    Mountain meadows and on mountain screes.
    Conservation
    Not known to be threatened.
    Hazards

    Contains alkaloids; toxic if eaten hence avoided by grazing animals.

    Images

    Distribution

    Introduced Into:

    Great Britain

    Common Names

    English
    Oriental poppy

    Papaver orientale L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    16171.000
    15399.000

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 508 (1753)

    Accepted in:

    • [3] Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1993) Flora Europaea ed. 2, 1: 1-581. Cambridge University Press

    Literature

    • [1] The Plant List (2010). Papaver orientale.
    • [2] Grey-Wilson, C. (2000). Poppies: the Poppy Family in the Wild and in Cultivation. Batsford, London.
    • [4] Goldblatt, P. (1974). Biosystematic studies in Papaver section Oxytona. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 61(2): 264-296.
    • [5] Tournefort, J.P. de (1717). Relation d'un Voyage du Levant. Paris.

    Sources

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2017). Published on the internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp
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    Kew Species Profiles
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