|Close-up on a flower of Papaver setigerum|
This plant is closely related to and sometimes treated as a sub-species of opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). In fact it produces a very small amount of morphine alkaloids. However, P. somniferum is diploid (n=11) and P. setigerum is tetraploid (n=22) with twice the number of chromosomes. So it cannot be considered the wild ancestral species of the opium poppy.
The genus name is derived from the Latin word papaverum meaning “poppy”, while the specific name setigerum derives the Latin "saetiger" meaning “bristly” for the short bristle on the top of the lobes of its leaves.
Papaver setigerum reaches on average 20–80 centimetres (7.9–31.5 in) in height. The stem is erect and the leaves are simple, oblong, the lower ones are sessile, deeply lobed and toothed, the higher ones shortly pedunculated.
The flowers at the apex of the stem are hermaphroditic, actinomorphic ("star shaped", "radial"), 4 to 10 cm in diameter. The corolla forms a cup with four pink-purple petals, with a dark purple blotch at the base. It has several stamens with dark filaments holding yellow anthers. Flowering occurs from May through June. The fruits are glabrous capsules 2 to 3 cm long, dehiscent along the holes located under the apical disc. The kidney-shaped seeds are about 1 mm wide.
This plant grows in pastures and fields, at an average altitude of 0–600 metres (0–1,969 ft) above sea level.
Papaver setigerum, plants with flowers in Aude, France
- Tutin, T.G. et al. - Flora Europaea, second edition - 1993
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