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Macleaya microcarpa Habitus BotGardBln0906b.jpg
Macleaya microcarpa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Papaveroideae
Genus: Macleaya

Macleaya or plume poppies is a genus of two or three species of flowering plants in the poppy family Papaveraceae, native to China and Japan. They have frilly leaves of olive green or grey colour, 25 cm (10 in) long, and tall stems with airy plumes of petal-less, tubular, off-white or cream flowers.[1]

Macleaya is named after the Scottish entomologist Alexander Macleay (1767-1848).[2]


The individual flowers are insignificant, but the combined effect of multiple stems four to six feet high can give a striking architectural effect. The plants are unsuitable for small gardens because of their invasive tendencies, but can be very effective as features in large gardens. They spread both by underground suckers and by seeding, so can be difficult to get rid of in some situations.

Species and hybrids[edit]


  1. ^ a b RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1-4053-3296-4. 
  2. ^ Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A to Z of Plant Names. USA: Timber Press. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-60469-196-2.