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Shirley and soldier poppies

Can you tell me the difference between 'shirley' poppies and 'soldier' poppies?


The common red poppy (Papaver rhoeas) which grows in fields and wastelands is also known as soldier poppy or Flanders poppy. It was so named because of its association to World War I, where its fire-engine red flowers dotted the landscape of battlefields, especially in Flanders. The flowers sprang up in bomb craters, around trenches, and often at the site of soldiers' graves.

Previously these wild flowers were only known as field or corn poppies. Today, of course, they remain a symbol of the War and its fallen heroes.

The shirley poppy is a cultivar of Papaver rhoeas developed in England from a selection of specimens from the wild. It has large, single blooms that are red, pink, white or bicoloured, and it has a pale centre instead of a black one, which marks the centre of the wild poppy.

Both poppies are annuals that readily self-sow.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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