Poppy Surprise

Oriental. Iceland. California. Mexican.

And that’s about it for types of poppies, yeah?


I knew I was in trouble when I saw a post titled, 8 Types of Poppies You Should Know, clearly implying there were others on which you could take a pass. And so it turns out to be: 70 to 100 others, in fact.

I remember poppies from the back row of my grandmother’s garden, and I’ve planted them in several locations, including my current one, with no particular focus on the type. Oriental? Iceland? Whatever.

Pink poppy close-up with blurred background.

Oriental. I think.

I’ve seen poppies in public gardens in South Carolina and in Arizona. These might be Flanders poppies, which apparently grow better in the south than do poppy species that need a spell of cold weather.

Red poppy in foreground, bed of yellow daisies in background.

Flanders poppy in South Carolina?


Two dried red poppies with their shadow.

Flanders poppies in Arizona?

I’ve seen sculptural poppies in Ottawa at a memorial to John McCrae.

Detail of poppies on memorial statue.

Presumed Flanders poppies in Ottawa.

And I’ve seen delightful Mexican poppies in the desert when the rainfall for the last several months has been just right.

Except I haven’t.  The flowers in these current photos, the flowers pointed out to me as Mexican poppies, are actually California poppies.

Mexican poppies do exist. They’re also known as Mexican prickly poppies for reasons that are obvious when you look at the photos, of which I have none. So far . . .

This entry was posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Flora and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Poppy Surprise

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I didn’t know there were that many varieties.
    Thanks, Isabel, and thanks for the photos!

  2. Marilyn Smith says:

    Your beautiful photos and text reminded me of poppy fields I had heard about that were somewhere down in the southwest — it is the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=627. The live cam suggests the poppies are not in bloom just yet. Someday maybe I’ll get there! — Marilyn

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marilyn – Thanks for the link! I think you’re right – the poppies are not yet doing their thing. It looks like it will be spectacular, though. I guess the flying route goes through LAX which is a bit of a disincentive, but there must be other ways of getting there at the right time.

  3. At the time I found red poppies and other pretty wildflowers growing by the edge of a wheat field in France, I realized I had misinterpreted McCrea’s poem. I had thought the poppies had been planted row on row between the crosses to mark the graves. It seems, rather, that the poppies were growing wild in Flander’s fields before the graves were made, with the crosses that mark “our place.” The poet’s observation is that nature, the poppies blowing like the lark bravely singing and barely audible above the gunfire, is attuned to the spirits of the fallen soldiers. Your South Carolina poppy resembles the ones I saw more closely than your Arizona variety.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Thanks for the imagery and the support in poppy identification. I may have to start a group, although these days there likely already is one. Or several.

  4. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – red poppies also grow along the ditches of rural roads on the German side of the Rhine River Valley.

  5. Beautiful photos of colourful poppies – I love both! Puts me in mind of a field of wild red poppies I saw growing on the little Greek Island of Antiparos. A sign of spring against the deep turquoise sea and the rocky grey-green land.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – 🙂 I can almost see it. So now we have Canada, USA, France, Germany, and Greece mentioned in dispatches. Any others?

  6. barbara carlson says:

    The only Poppy I know is a dog. 😀

    But do like their blouse-i-ness in spring.

Comments are closed.