Sunday 19 May
Arctic poppy (Papaver laestadianum)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Arctic poppy fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Arctic poppy description
The Arctic poppy (Papaver laestadianum) is a rare, endemic, perennial plant species found only in the harsh, Arctic conditions of the northernmost parts of Scandinavia. The solitary flower head consists of four vibrant yellow petals, supported by an erect stem which is long and narrow and has thick, spreading black hairs. Within the cup-shaped flower are five stigma protruding from a flat disk (1) (2).
The leaves growing in a dense rosette around the base of the stem are lance-shaped and pinnate. The flowering stems of the Arctic poppy are around ten centimetres long, but the rest of the plant is relatively low-growing (1) (2) (3).
- Papaver radicatum.
- Stem length: 10 cm (2)
- Containing calcium carbonate, chalky.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- The fusion of gametes (male and female reproductive cells) to produce an embryo, which grows into a new individual.
- The beginning of growth, usually following a period of dormancy and in response to favourable conditions. For example, the sprouting of a seedling from a seed.
- Part of the female reproductive organ (the gynoecium) in flowering plants.
- A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
- Metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
- In plants, a compound leaf where the leaflets (individual ‘leaves’) are found on either side of the central stalk.
- The transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part) of a flower, to the stigma (female part) of the same flower, or a different flower on the same plant.
- The part of the female reproductive organ of a flower which receives the pollen, and on which the pollen germinates (starts growing).
- Treeless, grassy plains characteristic of Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. They are very cold and have little rainfall.
IUCN Red List (October, 2011)
- Lucas, G. and Synge, H. (1978) The IUCN Plant Red Data Book: Comprising Red Data Sheets on 250 Selected Plants Threatened on a World Scale. IUCN, Morges.
- Pielou, E.C. (1994) A Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
- Spellerberg, I.F. (1994) Evaluation and Assessment for Conservation: Ecological Guidelines for Determining Priorities for Nature Conservation. Springer Publications, New York.
- Dowdeswell, J.A. and Hambrey, M.J. (2002) Islands of the Arctic. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- IUCN (1993) Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in Arctic and Subarctic Onshore Regions: Guidelines For Environmental Protection. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.
- Rafferty, J.P. (2011) The Living Earth. The Rosen Publishing Group, New York.
- Heinrich, B. (1993) The Hot-Blooded Insects: Strategies and Mechanisms of Thermoregulation. Harvard University Press, Harvard.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Arctic poppy biology
The leaves of the Arctic poppy stay green throughout winter, an adaptation to its extreme surroundings. The leaves develop throughout the summer and are able to survive through the winter without withering, retaining their green colouration. As soon as the weather becomes warmer and sunlight is present, the leaves will begin photosynthesis and new leaves become functional, at which point the older leaves will wither, creating a continuous cycle (3).
The air inside the flower of the Arctic poppy rises to several degrees warmer than the outside temperature when the sun is shining. This happens because of the cup-shaped flowers, which focus the sun’s rays onto the centre of the flower and make it a desirable area for flying insects. The bright yellow flowers of the Arctic poppy follow the sun continuously (3), turning to track the daily movements of the sun. This concentrates solar heat on the ovary, warming and speeding the growth of the developing seeds (7).Top
Arctic poppy range
The Arctic poppy is restricted to small, mountainous areas in the northernmost regions of Norway and Sweden, where it is endemic. It is known from six to seven locations in Norway and two in Sweden (1) (2) (4).Top
Arctic poppy habitat
The Arctic poppy is present in alpine and subalpine calcareous tundra at high altitudes (1) (5). These sites are open, monotonous expanses consisting mainly of shattered rock, rubble and gravel, with discontinuous plant cover and a covering of frost. They are mostly inaccessible and uninfluenced by man (2) (4) (6).Top
Arctic poppy status
The Arctic poppy is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Arctic poppy threats
The Arctic poppy is vulnerable to temperature increases, and global climate change is therefore a major threat to populations of this species and to its habitat (1).Top
Arctic poppy conservation
In Sweden, the Arctic Poppy is protected by special regulations which prohibit removing or causing damage to the plant (2). There are not known to be any other specific conservation measures currently in place for this rare Arctic species.Top
Find out more
Find out more about the Arctic poppy, its habitat and plant conservation:Top
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.