Papaver An unusual double-purpose poppy sporting enormous seed heads up to 1½" wide and 2" high in good years, somewhat smaller in drought. All the heads are now unvented so that the seed is not broadcast. From Chrenovec in central Slovakia, where families used to grow both the black Breadseed poppy and white-seeded Elka, and collect 50 kilograms of each for a year’s cooking. When walnuts became widely available in stores, Elka almost completely disappeared. Lacks the distinctive flavor of the Breadseed variety but sweeter, with a more nutlike taste, none of the bitterness, and over 50% more oil content, making perhaps the best edible oil in central Europe. Plants grow 4' with white-lavender single blossoms, like calcium-rich soil, don’t transplant well. For best results thin to at least 5–6" apart. Some folks tie a group of plants together for support against wind breakage. Isolate from other poppies by at least 250' if you wish to save seed. Annual. 1995 Fedco introduction.①
5350 Elka - Organic
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Annual. Sensuous luxurious flowers, about 2½–3' tall. Poppies make wondrous cutflowers: choose buds that have straightened up but not quite opened. Immediately sear the cut stem with a flame and put in water. Poppies open after several hours—an austere bouquet in the evening can become a riot of colors the next morning.
Culture: Need light to germinate. Sow outside in spring after frost or sow in fall for early blooms the following summer. Thin to 9–12". Like full sun. Will self sow. ~1,400 to 4,500 seeds/g.
All flowers are open-pollinated except where noted.
Days in parentheses after a variety indicate days to first bloom.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.