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SOLVED: Freak Opium Poppy?

What on earth is going on here. We have a large bed of opium poppies - about 50 plants, and almost every bloom has been a single bloomed purple flower. Very dainty and pretty.

Well, this morning this one opened, and we're at a loss as to what's going on. Firstly, the color is pink, not purple. But the bloom itself looks more like a carnation. It looks nothing like the rest of the poppies, and I wouldn't even think it was a poppy except the plant that produced the bloom is in the bed with the rest of the poppies and looks identical to the rest of the plants.

In the picture here I've included the bloom and a picture of the stem that the bloom is attached, so that you can see the foliage.

Sorry for the water on the blooms. It's been raining all day and it's not going to stop raining until tomorrow.

Any idea what's going on here? Is it a mutant?


Thumbnail by dave
Palmyra, VA(Zone 7a)


I experienced something like that too, I had a bunch of singles pink and purple, then one came up like a pompom.
It is possible that a seed got thrown in while packing the package.

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

Dave that's the double peony opium poppy :o) Those are my favorite! Aren't they cool!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Dave, are you sure it isn't a peony poppy (or "carnation poppy")? Here's a link to Sue's page.....

I'd guess it's a rogue seed that slipped in there among all your purty purple ones :) (But what a pretty rogue in its own right)

Antrim, Northern Ire, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Poppysue!! now I know why you are called Poppysue. Those are great looking poppies.


Excellent - thanks for the information!

These plants were given to us as plants, so we never saw the seed. Must've been a rogue seed!

Will these cross with the regular poppies? I'd like to save seed from just this one flower and grow more. They are beautiful!


Olympia, WA

I have found that this double poppy reseeds itself absolutely everywhere - including in the gravel in the carport!!!!!!! They ARE spectacular specimens!!!!

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

The opium poppies will all cross... whether they're peony poppies or the single type. Poppies are self pollinating so if you wanted to keep that one pure you should try to cover a bloom before it opens. Last year I made little sock type covers by stapling remay fabric and tying it over a bud before it opened. You need to keep an eye on them though because once the petals fall they rot quickly and your developing pod will mold.

Thank you. It's too late for this bloom then, as I didn't know until after it opened.

ahh, well, it looks like next year I'll be looking for peony poppy seeds. :-)


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Dave, I have lots of these - they are all over the yard in various gardens. I'll save you some when they bloom, as I don't have any other p. somniferom.

Chatham-Kent, ON(Zone 6a)

P. Somniferum cross breed like crazy therefore they will come back in many different forms and colors ...I LOVE THOSE bold and brilliant colored opium poppies !!! :)


Does anyone here know what species of poppy will cross with which ones? Cultivar names if nothing else or common names? Can one cross the Florida wild poppy with the mexican prickly poppy for instance? Thinking of getting more poppies for the yard and just letting them do their own crossbreeding.

Brooksville, ME(Zone 5a)

my parents have grown these exact kind of poppy's for about 10 years now.....they always reseed themselves and they almost always have the full peony head. Dads garden is so rich that they each produce 3 or 4 blooms per plant.


I've had a lot of poppies in various gardens as well as wild ones not far outside and I've not known them to cross breed well. The Reverand Wilkes of course bred the famous Shirley poppies but they were from wild forms of Papaver rhoeas only. Maybe they all self pollinate to such a high degree that its very uncommon to see a cross breed outside of its own species. I'm not aware of any successful intergenus crosses.

I have paeony flowered poppies too, bright scarlet in colour and they have always (past 10 years) come up double red, stunning flower and if it gets a little too invasive they are easy to pull up. Although I have other Papaver species and poppy genus, I've not seen any crossbred seedlings.

Chatham-Kent, ON(Zone 6a)

Well I hate to burst your bubbles , but it is a common occurence in my garden for the Papaver Somniferum to cross breed . In fact they have cross bred so much the same colors will never come true from the seed of the mother plant . Of course the fact of the matter is , I had almost every available color of the P. Somniferum before they started to cross , therefore I rest my case :) . The proof is on my property to view many times per year . Have a pleasant day and enjoy the BRILLIANT BLOOMS !!! :) ROCK ON !!


Yes they freely interbreed with others of their own species (in your case papaver somniferum), the question is do they cross breed with other species and across genus ie, P. rhoeas with P nudecaule or Meconopsis with Argmone. The red P somniferum I have is the most common colour so the occurance of red flowers is the most likely colour with red being the dominant gene in this case.

Chatham-Kent, ON(Zone 6a)

Baa : I do doubt that the P. Somniferum cross breed with the P. Orientale ..... I do have many cross bred P. Orientale species tho that provide interesting viewing when in flower . Enjoy the brilliance !!!

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