Herb: Plume Poppy

Latin name: Macleaya cordata

Synonyms: Bocconia cordata, Bocconia yedoensis

Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Medicinal use of Plume Poppy:

The whole plant is analgesic, antioedemic, carminative, depurative and diuretic. The juice from the stems of the leaves is used to treat insect bites. A decoction of the leaves and stems is used in the treatment of ringworm. The poisonous sap is used to counter poisonous sores.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Grassy places, open meadows and the grassy floors of Cryptomeria plantations.

Other uses of Plume Poppy:

The dried hollow stems can be used as whistles. Kills insects and mosquito larvae. The flowers are used to kill maggots whilst the whole plant is used to kill larvae and insects.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. Stored seed should be sown in the early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in the dormant season. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Cuttings from the axils of larger leaves in early summer. Root cuttings in the winter.

Cultivation of Plume Poppy:

Grassy places, open meadows and the grassy floors of Cryptomeria plantations.

Known hazards of Macleaya cordata:

The sap is very poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.