Papaveraceae – the Poppy family.
Numerous changes in the classification of the Papaveraceae accounts for the range of genera and
species quoted in various sources – 11 to 44 genera and 12 to 780 species.
There are now only 2 subfamilies in Papaveraceae.
Subfamily Fumarioideae (inc. Pteridophyllaceae) with 21 genera.
Subfamily Papaveroideae is divided into 4 tribes with 23 genera.
The tribes include Eschscholzieae and Papavereae.
Most Papaveraceae are annual or perennial herbs with some scramblers and small trees.
Some are lactiferous, others have watery, yellow or red juices.
The lactifers can be in any part of the plant from the roots to the flowers.
Stems can be leafy or bare and simple or branching.
The leaves can be basal or spread out along the stem.
They are usually alternate (spirally arranged) but can be sub-opposite or whorled.
Petioles may or may not be present but stipules are absent.
The blade can be simple but is usually lobed or dissected to various degrees – often
pinnatifid but they can be more divided.
Venation is pinnate or palmate.
Inflorescences are often terminal but can also be axillary.
The medium to large bisexual flowers are usually solitary but can be in clusters.
The spiny buds have 5 – 14 mm long horns on the top.
There is almost always a distinct calyx and corolla.
The calyx has 2 (4) sepals in 1 whorl that are free or have their bases fused.
The corolla has 4 to 16 petals that are separate and in 2 whorls – often 2+2 or 3+3.
The petals are sometimes crumpled in the bud.
Colours include red, orange, pink, yellow or blue plus white.
There are usually many stamens often from 16 to 60 (200).
They can be free and in 3 to 15 whorls or united into bundles.
The anthers are basifixed and dehisce via longitudinal slits.
The gynoecium consists of 2 (to 100) usually united carpels.
The ovary is superior and is sometimes on a stalk (gynophore).
There can be 1 locule or up to 20 formed by false septa.
There are (1) 2 to many ovules per locule and placentation is usually parietal.
There may or may not be a style.
There are as many stigmas as there are placentas and they are often joined to form a
disc-like structure on the ovary.
The fruit can take various forms but most commonly it is a dry, usually dehiscent capsule that
opens via a longitudinal slit (septicidal), valves (valvular) or pores (poricidal).
There are 1 to many small seeds.