Family: Papaveraceae

Grown mainly for their attractive, veined, lobed leaves, these plants make excellent specimen or border plants. They can be extremely vigorous as they spread from underground rhizomes. The feathery, white flowers are borne in graceful, branching, terminal clusters.


M. cordata, plume poppy, zone 3, is a native of China and Japan. This perennial grows to about 3 m (10 ft), exuding an orange-coloured sap when cut. The leaves are white underneath and the fluffy flowers are a pale cream.

M. microcarpa, zone 5, is similar to M. cordata, but it does not grow as tall. Cultivar 'Kelway's Coral Plume' produces coral pink buds from which emerge buff to pink flowers.


Macleaya likes rich, moist soil and full sun or dappled shade. Propagate from suckers in late autumn or spring. If transplanting a clump, remove all roots from the soil as new plants will grow even from very small pieces of root left in the ground.


There are species suited to various climatic zones but all are very hardy.

Click to view map of zones
Climate zone map
Mackaya      Maclura