Plants to 8 dm, hispid to setulose. Stems simple or usually branching. Leaves to 15 cm; distal often somewhat clustered. Inflorescences: peduncle sparsely to moderately spreading-hispid throughout. Flowers: petals white, pink, orange, or red, often with dark basal spot, to 3.5 cm; anthers bluish; stigmas 5-18, disc ± flat. Capsules sessile or substipitate, turbinate to subglobose, obscurely ribbed, to 2 cm, less than 2 times longer than broad. Flowering spring-summer. Fields, pastures, stream banks, railroads, roadsides, and other disturbed sites; 0-2000 m; introduced; Man., N.B., N.S., Ont., Que., Sask.; Alaska, Calif., Conn., D.C., Idaho, Ill., Iowa, La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va.; Europe; sw Asia; n Africa. J. W. Kadereit (1990) suggested that Papaver rhoeas originated on the east coast of the Mediterranean, probably derived from one or more of the other species of the section that are native in that region, and only after (and because) 'suitable habitats in sufficient extent were provided by man.' Various forms with pale pink or white, unspotted, sometimes doubled petals are grown for ornament, notably the Shirley poppies. In North America, the species escapes from cultivation fairly readily and has been introduced also as a crop weed. Excluded species: Papaver dahlianum Nordhagen, Bergens Mus. Årbok 2: 46. 1931
We regard this species as being restricted to arctic Europe, a narrower circumscription than U. Rändel's (1977).
Papaver microcarpum de Candolle, Syst. Nat. 2: 71. 1821
We are so far unable to substantiate D. Löve's (1969) report of this essentially Asiatic species 'from Seward and Kenai peninsulas in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands.'
Duration: Annual Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Introduced annual, 30-80 cm, hairy. Leaves: Basal and cauline leaves 3-15 cm, deeply pinnately lobed. Flowers: Solitary, terminal, petals 20-40 mm, white (sometimes red-marked) red or purple; 2 sepals, shed at flower; 4 petals, free, obovate or wedge-shaped. Fruits: Capsule, dehiscent by valves or pores, septicidal, 1-2 cm, widely obovate to round. Ecology: Found in disturbed areas and fallow fields below 3,500 ft (1067 m). Notes: Native to Eurasia, found in cultivated areas. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Papaver is the Latin name for poppy, rhoeas is the Latin name for the common red poppy. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010
Sparingly branched annual (biennial) to 1 m, ±hispid, the peduncles spreading-hispid throughout; lvs pinnately divided, the pinnae usually lobed or incised; buds 0.5-2 cm, pet 1.5-4 cm, variously red, purple, pink, white, or streaked, often with a basal dark spot; fr glabrous, ovoid to subglobose, 1-2 cm; stigmatic rays 8-15, typically 10; 2n=14. Native of Eurasia and N. Afr., widely escaped in our range, but seldom abundant. May-Sept.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.