Botanical name : Papaver rhoeas
Common names : Common Poppy, Corn Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy, Flanders Poppy, Red Poppy
Physical appearance : A hairy annual 30-60cm in height. It's characteristic deep scarlet petals often have an extremely dark centre. The petals are generally soft or "floppy". Its seed pods are hairless and have a flat top and are conical in shape. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs.
Edible parts : The small, dark grey seeds have been used in cooking for thousands of years. Often used in European and Middle Eastern cooking. Most commonly used as a sprinkling for breads, rolls, cakes and biscuits.
Best places to find : Most readily found on arable fields, and by roadsides. They generally prefer a milder climate and England, for example, they become much more scarce the further north you go.
Time of year : Best harvested from late August to October
Interesting factoid : Papaver, also ‘pappa’, is the Latin for food or milk and rhoeas means red in Greek
Serving suggestions : Poppy seed cake - Polish style. Similar to a sponge roulade (rolly polly) except that instead of using jam, cream or chocolate, you would use blended poppy seeds mixed with butter, flavourings and other dried fruits.
Please follow this link for a good recipe, courtesy of thespruce.com
Other recipes : Sprinkle on bread dough before cooking. Adds a nice crunch and flavour to a loaf. Also nice when sprinkled on top of cheese or mixed into a chutney.
NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure! Don't risk your life!!!
Photos courtesy of Alvesgaspar - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9942144