Herb: Arctic Poppy

Latin name: Papaver nudicaule

Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Medicinal use of Arctic Poppy:

Anodyne, antiscorbutic. The flowers and seed capsules are mildly diaphoretic.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Stony slopes, river gravels and sandy meadows.

Edible parts of Arctic Poppy:

Leaves - cooked. Very agreeable to the taste, the leaves are a good source of vitamin C. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Seed - raw or cooked. Oleaginous and antiscorbutic, the seed is very agreeable to the taste. It contains some opium. Caution is advised, see note at top of page.

Other uses of the herb:

Red and beige dyes are obtained from the flowers. Yellow and brown dyes are obtained from the flower pods (does this mean the immature flower bud or the developing seed head?).

Propagation of Arctic Poppy:

Seed - sow spring in situ. Plants can be transplanted. Division in March or October with care. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Root cuttings 10cm long, November/December in a cold frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Stony slopes, river gravels and sandy meadows.

Known hazards of Papaver nudicaule:

This plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.