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Papaveraceae Juss., nom. cons.
the poppy family
Papaver was the Roman name for the poppy. Most members of the family are annual or perennial herbs, and there are also a very few shrubs and trees. Most species have a milky or a coloured sap. The leaves are alternate, and entire, but often deeply cut. The stem may be smooth, hairy or prickly. Instead of the normal calyx, there are 2 large sepals that enclose the flower bud, and these fall off when the bud opens. In most species the 4 petals are large, colourful and rounded, and arranged in 2 rings of 2. The petals are often crumpled inside the bud. There are many rows of stamens. The seeds develop inside a rounded capsule with one chamber, which opens by small holes around the lid.
Argemone ochroleuca - Mexican Prickly Poppy
Papaver rhoeas - Flanders Poppy
Photograph © Donald Simpson 2013
Page last updated 28th March 2018