Papaver (Poppy) pah-PAY-ver
Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) are herbaceous perennial flowers with large, brightly colored blooms featuring petals reminiscent of crepe paper. These plants are grown mainly for their flowers, although they also bear attractive foliage in spring. The most commonly found Oriental poppy flowers are orange and red. The blossom petals usually sport a dark blotch at their base. The large buds nod down at first, but they raise their heads as the flowers unfurl. The big, thistle-like leaves of Oriental poppy are downy, deeply-lobed, and rich green in color, offering aesthetic value in their own right. The leaves are tightly packed, and the flower stems are stiff and hairy, making Oriental poppy a good cut flower. The pods that succeed the flowers also have an ornamental quality and are dried for floral arrangements and crafts.
When planting poppies, be aware that the aboveground growth dies back in summer when the plant goes dormant. This can leave gaps in your planting bed, so design around the poppies accordingly. Good companions that will fill in after poppies die back include black-eyed Susan, daylily, catmint and phlox.