Oriental Poppy - Papaver pseudoorientale

    Alt Name
    Papaver orientale
    Papaver setiferum

    Oriental Poppy is a perennial poppy with large flowers, usually red, pink or orange but sometimes white, mauve or plum-coloured, with bristly leaves. It has been a popular garden plant since it was introduced to western Europe. Height: 50 to110 cm. Stem leafy to the top, upper part smoothly haired. Flowers have 4 to 6 petals and measure 8 to 12 cm. This is one of many cultivated plants that escapes into the wild and persists, at least for a time. These cultivated plants may have many different varieties or cultivars, and hybridisation is common so our images of garden escapes can only be said to be representative of the species.

    Similar Species

    The oriental poppy of gardens may include three similar species plus intermediates: P orientale, P bracteatum, and P setiferum (formerly P pseudoorientale).  

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Usually with blotched petals.  Much larger than the corn poppy or long-headed poppy. Some large flowered garden escapes without blotches are probably P bracteatum or orientale.

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


    Usually found as a casual garden escape on open or disturbed ground close to habitation.


    When to see it

    May and June.

    Life History

    Perennial herb.

    UK Status

    Infrequent but widespread as an escape from cultivation in England.

    VC55 Status

    Infrequent as an escape from cultivation in Leicestershire and Rutland. It was not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire and is not listed in the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011).

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map