Common Poppy - Papaver rhoeas

Alternative names

Medium height roughly hairy plant usually branched. Flowers scarlet, 7 to 10 cm the petals overlapping, often with a black blotch at the base, anthers bluish. Flower stalks with spreading hairs. Seed capsule rounded.

Similar Species

Other small red Papaver species

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Seed capsules rounded (less than twice as long as wide).  The flowers are very variable in colour - often bright scarlet and blotched but can be white, pink, mauvish or light red, or unblotched (as in the 'Shirley' poppy seed-strain commonly grown in gardens and often escaping). Anthers bluish-black.

Recording advice

Photo of seed capsules.  Not all plants can be identified from a photo of the flower


Cultivated fields, bare and waste places, field boundaries and roadsides.  Often grown in gardens and escaping.

When to see it

June to October.

Life History


UK Status

Found throughout Britain, but more localised in Wales and Scotland.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 328 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011), it is listed as an Alien archaeophyte (i.e. an old introduction that first appeared in the wild in Britain before 1500) and locally frequent.  

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map