Thursday, April 5, 2012
Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas).
Sent by Sarah, a postcrosser from Trier, Germany.
This is from Wikipedia : Papaver rhoeas (common names include corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, red poppy, red weed, coquelicot, and, due to its odour, which is said to cause them, as headache and headwark) is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy, a native of Europe, is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the "corn" and "field") and as a symbol of fallen soldiers.
P. rhoeas sometimes is so abundant in agricultural fields that it may be mistaken for a crop. The only species of Papaveraceae grown as a field crop on a large scale is Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy.
The plant is a variable annual, forming a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed. In the northern hemisphere it generally flowers in late spring, but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. The flower is large and showy, with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. Like many other species of Papaver, it exudes a white latex when the tissues are broken.
It is known to have been associated with agriculture in the Old World since early times. It has most of the characteristics of a successful weed of agriculture. These include an annual lifecycle that fits into that of most cereals, a tolerance of simple weed control methods, the ability to flower and seed itself before the crop is harvested.
The leaves and latex have an acrid taste and are mildly poisonous to grazing animals.
Its origin is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practiced since the earliest times. It has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility.