Papaver rhoeas


Once considered as a weed of arable fields, the development of intensive agricultural practices has resulted in the decline of Common Poppies in the wild. This familiar, showy flower is now most likely to occur as a part of intentional wildflower seeding or as the result of the disturbance of soil containing old seed banks. Its strongholds remain roadside verges, field margins and waste ground. It flowers from June to August, often alongside other 'arable weeds' (also called 'cornfield flowers') such as Corn Chamomile and Corncockle, however these are very much rarer than poppies.

How to identify

With their big, scarlet flowers, poppies are one of the most familiar of all our wild flowers. There are other similar species, which can be hard to tell apart.

Where to find it

Found in England and lowland parts of Wales and Scotland.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Before the Second World War, arable weeds, such as the Common Poppy, would have peppered the landscape with colour in the summer months. But the post-war intensification of agriculture and widespread use of herbicides have driven these species to the brink of extinction in the wild. Nevertheless, The Wildlife Trusts manage many farmland and grassland habitats for the benefit of these plants, often using traditional methods. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Papaver rhoeas
Height: up to 80cm
Conservation status