Iceland Poppy - Papaver nudicaule is a poisonous plant
Iceland Poppy - Papaver nudicaule, click for a larger image
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Iceland Poppy - Papaver nudicaule, click for a larger image

Iceland Poppy - Papaver nudicaule
Family - Papaveraceae
Also known as - Yellow Arctic poppy
Synonyms - P. croceum, P. miyabeanum, P. amurense, and P. macounii

This plant is poisonous

Iceland Poppy is a boreal perennial flowering plant native to Europe, Asia and North America but ironically not Iceland!  The plants found in Brickfields Park are orange and so likely to be the cultivar ‘Champagne Bubbles’, probably a garden escapee as they were found very close to a neighbouring property.  In the wild the four petaled fragrant flowers are white or yellow, large and borne singly on a thin hairy stem arising from blue-green deeply dissected leaves 5-16cm (2-6in) long similar to Cut-leaved Cranesbill (Geranium dissectum).

White is the dominant color over yellow for Papaver nudicaule, but there are many cultivars available in orange, salmon, rose, pink, cream and white as well as bi-colored varieties, all of which are recessive.  The flowers mature to a capsule containing numerous and extremely small black seeds.  Like other poppies all parts of the plant are poisonous containing toxic alkaloids.  Cultivars range from dwarf strains at 25cm (10in) tall with large flowers 10cm (4in) across to larger plants at 50-60cm (20-24in) tall or more with smaller flowers, singly or in racemes in a multitude of colours.  They prefer light, well-drained soil and full sun, are hardy but not tolerant of protracted hot weather.

One of the flowers in Linnaeus' flower clock or Horologium Florae, Iceland Poppy occupies the 7 p.m. closing time.

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