Papaver strigosum (Boenn.) Schur
Annual, rarely biennial, erect or ascending, (20-) 30-90 (-120) cm tall herb, branched, hispid or stiffly hairy with 1-3 mm long, spreading whitish hairs, sometimes subglabrous, rarely glabrous. Leaves large, up to 15 cm long and 6 cm broad; basal and lower leaves ± stalked, larger, and less dissected; upper leaves sessile or subsessile, more dissected with narrow bases; all leaves usually 1-2-pinnatifid with narrow acute, ± toothed, bristle-pointed segments, ±hispid, very variable in size and segmentation but usually with a larger and broader terminal segment. Peduncle (10-) 15-30 cm long, usually stiffly hairy with spreading bristles. Flower bud large, ovoid or broadly ellipsoid, 10-20 mm long, ± stiffly hairy. Flowers very variable in size (3-) 4-8 cm in diam., usually scarlet, violet, pink (rarely whitish), often with a basal dark blotch. Petals suborbicular, 2-4 (-5) cm broad. Stamens as long as the ovary, bluish; filaments linear; anthers c. 1 mm long, oblong. Capsule subglobose to broadly obovoid, 10-20 mm long, usually slightly longer than broad, with a rounded base abruptly narrowed into an inconspicuous very short stipe, glabrous; stigmatic rays 8-12 (-20), almost reaching the end of the somewhat overlapping marginal lobes of the disk: seeds very small, dark-brown.
Fl. Per. April-July.
Type: Europe, Herb. Linn. no. 669/5 (LINN).
Distribution: Europe, Asia and N. Africa.
It is commonly known as ‘Corn poppy’ or ‘field poppy,. It is very variable in size, shape and hairiness of leaves, dark colouring of stamen filaments, black blotch on petals and shape of capsule etc. Some cultivated garden varieties called ‘Shirley poppies’ have wide range of flower shades and sometimes lack pigments. Papaver strigosum (Boenn.), Schur. has usually somewhat appressed hairs on the peduncle, but the character seems to be variable, leaving no difference between the two.
The robust and taller plants have been called Papaver hookeri Baker or var. hookeri (Baker) Fedde, but there seems to be no boundaries between the type race and this variety.
It is hardly put to any use in Pakistan, though the petals of “Shirley poppies” are said to be utilized in colouring drugs. The milk from the capsules is narcotic with a slightly sedative property and contains morphine in exceedingly minute proportion.
It seems to be under-collected in our area, and we have neither seen any specimen of this species from Baluchistan nor has Burkill (l.c) reported it from there, but R.R. Stewart (l.c) mentioned that many forms of this is cultivated in Baluchistan gardens.