Some distinguishing characteristics of poppy flowers include their brilliantly colored, crumpled, tissue thin petals and greenish-gray, fern-like foliage. The flowers are also radially symmetrical and borne singly on thin stalks.
The petals of the poppy can be red, yellow, gold, white, pink or lilac. There is a blue poppy which is a member of the Meconopsis genus. This plant is native to the Himalayas, is the national flower of Bhutan and is notoriously hard to grow outside of its native habitat.
Poppies also have many stamens that encircle the flower's pistil, and the structures of the plant are attached at the base of the ovary. Some poppies also have many stigmas found on the ovary, which can be made of two or many fused segments. The flower also has sepals, but these usually fall away when the flower opens. The fruit of many poppies is a sometimes oddly shaped capsule, with a ring of dried stigmas on top. Some types of poppies have colored sap. Opium is notoriously extracted from the sap of Old World poppies.
The leaves of the poppy are often toothed and hairy. The leaves of some types have deep lobes. Poppies can be annual, biennial or perennial. Some poppy seeds are edible, and the seeds of the common poppy can lie dormant for more than 80 years.