The Most Provocative Plant...

During the recent Wheat Ridge Garden Tour there was one plant in my garden that garnered the most curiosity and questions: Glaucium flavum, horned poppy.  Its alluring silvery-blue foliage and wanton orange flowers created quite a stir amongst my garden guests!

Sizzlin' silver foliage looks great all summer

Horned poppy is an import from western Europe that prefers light, sandy soil - it's become invasive in some coastal regions; it also goes by the name sea poppy.  It's a member of the poppy family, Papaveraceae, but is not of the genus Papaver, as are the more familiar oriental (P. orientale), alpine (P. alpinus) and Icelandic (P. nudicaule) poppies. (Our native, white flowering prickley poppies are of the genus Argemone.)

the new emerging foliage is quite "hairy"

Glaucium flavum is not a biennial, as I originally thought, but a short lived perennial. I let it go to seed in my garden and it jumps around from bed to bed.

A great accent plant for the xeric garden (if you can stand its flighty ways), it grows about 18 - 24 inches tall and flowers for several weeks from mid-June on. These plants are not widely available at garden centers, so best to grow them from seed, or beg one from a gardening friend (like I did!).  Then stand back, and enjoy the seduction of Glaucium flavum!

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