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BracteatumPapaver bracteatum
Great Red Poppy
In a Victorian story, a witch turns a ruddy-faced, black-eyed plowman into one of these flowers so that he might meet a princess as she walks in her garden. Consider this plant, then, for shapeshifting and for invisibility.

This perennial Moon herb is the ancestor of the Oriental hybrid poppies.  It is larger and sturdier than Orientals, though, and is one of the largest poppies there are.  It contains very small amounts of the alkaloids morphine or codeine but relatively large amounts of thebaine, another important alkaloid used in medicine.  At one time it was considered as a potential commercial source of codeine in the US, but it has never actually been exploited in that way. It comes from Southwest Asia but has long been a familiar naturalized plant in Britian. It blooms in late spring/early summer. This plant is also known as great scarlet poppy and scarlet poppy. Top 

Bracteatum podHow to grow Great Red Poppy: Sow the seed by pressing it lightly into soil but not covering it.  Germination information on this plant varies a great deal. Some say 10-20 days at 68F/20C. Others have much better germination in 20-35 days at warm room temperature, 75F-80F/24-27C. Try some at the higher temperature. Soil should be moist but not sopping, and please, no moisture domes. It is ready to transplant at 4-6 weeks, but avoid handling the roots, because in this plant, they don't like to be touched. It prefers full sun/partial shade and a somewhat chalky, dryish soil (next to a concrete building is good). The first year, it produces a rosette of leaves. The second year, it throws up a stalk 40"/101cm high, and its fern-like leaves get up to 18"/45cm long. The red flowers are 4-7"/10-17cm wide.  If you cut them off as soon as they start of wilt, you should get another stalk. It's good for the north but not in the far south (zones 4-8). Although this is a different species from P. somniferum, it will hybridize with it, so keep this in mind if you grow them both.   General growing info Top

 

Papaver bracteatum
Great Red Poppy
100 seeds $4.00



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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Shapeshifting
Invisibility
Moon Herb

2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission