The Poppy family has over 700 species in 2 main subfamilies Papaveroideae (Poppy) which includes the genera Papaver (Red and Opium Poppy), Meconopsis (Yellow and Blue Poppies) and Eschscholzias (Californian Poppy) and Fumarioideae (Fumitory) which includes the genera Dicentra (garden plant Bleeding Heart), Fumaria and Corydalis. The name Papaver was first used by Linnaeus for the common poppy. Basic Flower Parts 2 Sepals, 4 petals, Many Stamens.

The two sub-families look quite different but have the same basic flower parts and evolved from a common ancestor. The open flowers of the Poppies are closer to this ancestor and the more complex flowers of the Fumitories show how flowers have evolved to make access to the reproductive parts more difficult and hence attract more specialised pollinators.

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas is a native wild flower found on field edges and waste places through most of Britain.

Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica is a wild flower native to Britain found in damp, rocky upland areas and also as a weed in many gardens.

California Poppy Eschscholzia californica. An annual grown from seeds in gardens in Britain, it is native to California and Oregon. Escapes from gardens are found in the wild.

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum is native to Europe and Asia. In Britain it is found in arable fields as a garden escape or in formal gardens

Bleeding Heart Lamprocapnos (Dicentra) spectabilisNative to eastern Asia it was introduced to Britain in the middle of the 19th century. It flowers in May and June. 


The flowers have 4 petals. The two outer pink petals turn up at the ends, the two inner white petals are  at right angles and hang down giving the appearance of weeping/bleeding.

Fumewort ‘George Baker’ Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’ is a cultivar of a wild flower (Corydalis solida) native to northern Europe and Asia. The cultivar is popular in gardens. 

Common Fumitory Fumaria officinalis is a native wild flower found on cultivated ground  and also grown in gardens. It is widespread across Europe and the Mediterranean.