Icelandic Poppy

White Icelandic Poppy;
aka, Arctic Poppy

"The poppy, sweet as never lilies are."

-Dorothy Parker


This subarctic poppy Papaver nudicaule (formerly P. croceum & P. miyabeanum) adapts well to Northwest gardens, but is delicate in warmer climates. It is capable of perennialing in our Puget Sound weather patterns, but not reliably like P. orientale. It can be grown only as an annual further south.

This polar species has supspecies & variants growing wild from Iceland to Finland to Siberia to Alaska & northernmost Canada.

Cultivated forms were planted along Alaskan highways in the early 1980s until it was realized they were a threat to the native subspecies. By then it was a bit late, & hardy cultivated forms had already naturalized far & wide, so are a permanent addition to Alaska's wild landscapes.

It blooms beginning late winter, all through spring, & can continue through summer in the Northwest. Flat papery blossoms can reach four inches across, typically three inches. Seeds are often sold in "Mixed" collections, as there are many colors besides white.


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