The Q&A Archives: Poppies In Italy

Question: We took a trip to northern Italy this spring and I fell in love with the red poppy like flowers which were growing everywhere (alongside the roads, even between the train rails) Do you have any idea what they were and where I could get some seeds or plants. I would like to plant some both because they looked so pretty and because they would remind me of a very happy trip.

Answer: Poppies have traveled all over the world from their native lands, so you're just as likely to find Oriental poppies in the U.S. as in Asia. I suspect the poppy you like so much is Papaver rupifragum, which is native to Spain. It's a perennial growing to 18" tall with brick-red petals. If this doesn't exactly fit the description, there's another poppy, Papaver atlanticum, from Morocco, which grows 2' high with orange-red to scarlet flowers.

Seeds for both are available from Cyberseeds, PO Box 171102, San Antonio, TX 78217-1102.

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