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All species of poppies have milkey or coloured juice and usualy have showy flowers. Some poppies grow wild in almost every country in the north temperate zone. Several kinds are raised in gardens for their large, many-tinted flowers.
Oriental poppies, natives of the Mediterranean region, have the largest flowers, often six to eight inches across, white to red in color. Iceland poppies, from arctic regions, have small, fragrant flowers of different delicate colors. Alpine poppies are low-growing rock garden Perennials with sweet-scented yellow or white flowers. The popular, many-colored Shirley Poppies are cultivated forms of the corn, or Flanders poppy, a common wild flower of Europe and Asia. They are annuals.
Poppies grow best in sunny places. Most kinds do well in ordinary garden soil. Seeds should be planted in the fall or in very early spring. Some poppies self-sow. Oriental poppies, true perennials, are grown from seed or from root-cuttings. Iceland and California poppies are perennials that bloom in their first season if the seeds are planted early.
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