Roemeria Med.

In its traditional circumscription Roemeria is a small genus of three (or possibly up to five) species (Kadereit 1987b). Species boundaries are often rather unclear. It is native in the Mediterranean area and further east to Afghanistan. All known species occur in Turkey (Mabberley 2008). One or two species (Roemeria refracta DC. and to some extent also R. hybrida) are sometimes cultivated as ornamentals (Cullen 1995f, Jäger & al. 2008).

In the past decades the generic limits of Roemeria have been repeatedly questioned. Günther (1975) already advocated the transfer of Roemeria to Papaver. This taxonomy is followed, for instance, by Karlsson (2001) and Stace (2010). More recent molecular phylogenetic studies have also shown that Roemeria is in fact nested in Papaver s.l. (Carolin & al. 2006). Only after inclusion of, among others, Roemeria (and Meconopsis cambrica) Papaver is a monophyletic assemblage. Species of Papaver sect. Argemonidium (with P. argemone and P. hybridum) are more closely related to Roemeria than they are to the remainder of the genus Papaver. Carolin & al. l.c. therefore suggested a re-classification as to elevate section Argemonidium to genus level or to combine section Argemonidium as a subgenus of Roemeria. Because of the substantial morphological differences between sect. Argemonidium and Roemeria the former solution was preferred. Kadereit & al. (2011), on the contrary, transferred Papaver section Argemonidium to Roemeria, in fact following Morales Torres & al. (1988). It is clear that the generic position of Roemeria obviously is still unresolved. Pending further studies and following the Euro+Med Plantbase account it is here tentatively maintained in its traditional sense. Also, with its long, linear, cylindrical fruits Roemeria is morphologically strikingly different from Papaver.

In addition to the species treated in this account (Roemeria hybrida) a second species could occur as an alien: R. refracta. It is the usual alien of the genus in North America (Kiger 1997) and is distinguished by its reddish petals.


Baytop A. (1989) The genus Roemeria in Turkey. In: Tan K. (ed.), The Davis and Hedge Festschrift: plant taxonomy, phytogeography and related subjects. Edinburgh, University Press: 65-70.

Carolan J.C., Hook I.L.I., Chase M.W., Kadereit J.W. & Hodkinson T.R. (2006) Phylogenetics of Papaver and Related Genera Based on DNA Sequences from ITS Nuclear Ribosomal DNA and Plastid trnL Intron and trnL–F Intergenic Spacers. Annals of Botany 98(1): 141-155.

Cullen J. (1995f) Roemeria. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 114.

Gleissberg S. (1998) Comparative analysis of leaf shape development in Papaveraceae-Papaveroideae. Flora 193(3): 269-301.

Günther K.F. (1975) Beiträge zur Morphologie und Verbreitung der Papaveraceae. Flora 164: 185-234, 393-436.

Jäger E.J., Ebel F., Hanelt P. & Müller G. (eds.) (2008) Rothmaler Band 5. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Krautige Zier- und Nutzpflanzen. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Kadereit J.W. (1987b) The taxonomy, distribution and variability of the genus Roemeria Medic. (Papaveraceae). Flora (Germany) 179(2): 135-153.

Kadereit J.W., Preston C.D. & Valtueña F.J. (2011) Is Welsh poppy, Meconopsis cambrica (L.) Vig. (Papaveraceae), truly a Meconopsis? New Journal of Botany 1(2): 80-87. [available online at:]

Kadereit J.W. & Sytsma K.J. (1992) Disassembling Papaver: A restriction site analysis of chloroplast DNA. Nordic Journal of Botany 12: 205-217.

Karlsson T. (2001) Papaveraceae. In: Jonsell B. (ed.), Flora Nordica, vol. 2. The Bergius Foundation, Stockholm: 340-368.

Kiger R.W. (1997) Roemeria. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.), Flora of North America, vol. 3. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford: 334.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Morales Torres C., Mendoza Castellón R. & Romero García A.T. (1988) La posición sistemática de Papaver argemone Linterés evolutivo del orden Papaverales 1. Lagascalia 15 (Suppl.): 181-189. [available online at:]

Popov M.G. (1957) On the relationships and history of Papaver and Roemeria. Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow & Leningrad) 42: 1389-1397.

Stace C. (2010) New flora of the British Isles, 3th ed.: XXXII + 1232 p. Cambridge University Press.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith