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As this coming Sunday is Remembrance Day we have chosen the red poppy, Papaver rhoeas, as this week’s Plant of the Week. Papaver rhoeas is one of many flowering plants from the poppy family Papaveraceae. It is native to Europe and is considered an agricultural weed, commonly seen in corn fields. For many years now it has been adopted as the symbol of fallen soldiers in most western countries.
Papaver rhoeas is an annual which has been associated with agricultural crops since early times. It is tolerant of simple weed control and has the ability to flower and set seed prior to the crop being harvested. Its seeds can remain dormant in soil for long periods of time, allowing the plant to germinate once the ground is disturbed. It is this characteristic which allowed the poppy to bloom in between the trenches and in no man’s land during World War 1.