Yellow Wood Poppy is such a cheery sight in the garden after a long winter. The bright yellow flowers add a bold color statement to the garden. It is not native to New York but is native to parts of Pennsylvania and is hardy in New York.
Yellow Wood Poppy is a member of the poppy family and has a typical poppy look to the plant. The bright yellow flowers are about 2 inches across. The leaves are deeply lobed, bright green above and gray green beneath. The undersides of the leaves and petioles are hairy. The stems of Yellow Wood Poppy contain a yellow sap.The plant grows about 12 to 18 inches high. The seed pods are ovate light green and they split along the seams to release the seed. The brown seeds have elaiosomes attached which aid in dispersal of the seed. Ants are attracted by the sweet elaiosomes which encourages them to take them back to there nest where they are "planted".
Yellow Wood Poppy grows best in dappled shade in moist well drained soil. It can tolerate sun as long as the soil is moist. It flowers heavily in the Spring and sporadically through out the summer. It will go dormant in the summer if it dries out. Yellow Wood Poppy will be back the following spring. It does self sow. If you want to harvest the seed you need to keep a close watch on the seed pods. When they start to split the seed is ready for harvest. Plant immediately and leave outside all winter for best germination. Start looking for ripe seed 1st week in June.
Yellow Wood Poppy looks great with blue flag iris. It also pairs well at the base of Tall Meadow Rue. In a woodland setting try it with Foam Flower and Woodland Phlox.
There is an alien plant that is similar. Celandine Poppy, Chelidonium majus, has flowers that are smaller about 3/4 of an inch. The seed capsules are hairy and are upright on the plant. Yellow Wood Poppy's seed pods hang down. The alien is invasive and not nearly as pretty.