The Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule, syn. Papaver croceum, P. miyabeanum, P. amurense, and P. macounii) is a boreal flowering plant. Native to subpolar regions of Europe, Asia and North America, and the mountains of Central Asia (but not in Iceland), Iceland poppies are hardy but short-lived perennials, often grown as biennials, that yield large, papery, bowl-shaped, lightly fragrant flowers supported by hairy, one foot, curved stems among feathery blue-green foliage 1-6 inches long. They were first described by botanists in 1759. The wild species blooms in white or yellow, and is hardy from USDA Zones 3a-10b. All parts of this plant are likely to be poisonous, containing (like all poppies) toxic alkaloids.
Varieties come in shades of yellow, orange, salmon, rose, pink, cream and white as well as bi-colored varieties. Seed strains include: ‘Champagne Bubbles’ (15-inch plants in orange, pink, scarlet, apricot, yellow, and creamy-white); ‘Wonderland’ (10-inch dwarf strain with flowers up to 4 inches wide); ‘Flamenco’ (pink shades, bordered white, 1½ to 2 feet tall); ‘Party Fun’ (to 1 foot, said to bloom reliably the first year in autumn and the second spring); ‘Illumination’ and ‘Meadow Pastels’ (to 2 feet, perhaps the tallest strains); ‘Matador’ (scarlet flowers to 5 inches across on 16 inch plants); the perennial 'Victory Giants' with red petals and ‘Oregon Rainbows’, which has large selfed, bicolor, and picoteed flowers and is perhaps the best strain for the cool Pacific Northwest (elsewhere this strain’s buds frequently fail to open).