Species At Risk


(Stylophorum diphyllum)


Wood-poppy occurrences map


Wood-poppy is a perennial herb that reaches up to 40 centimetres in height. The long-stalked leaves are mostly found near the base of the plant and are deeply divided into five to seven main lobes, which are themselves irregularly lobed. The flowers of the Wood-poppy are four-petaled, occurring in few-flowered clusters. Petals are an intense yellow and flowers bloom in May to early June. The fruit is a nodding, greyish-green, soft-bristly capsule, The seeds are dispersed in late June to July when the fruit splits open.


In Canada, there are only three known populations of Wood-poppy found in southwestern Ontario, all in the county of Middlesex.


In Ontario, Wood-poppy is found in rich mixed deciduous woodlands, forested ravines and slopes, and along wooded streams. It is possible that Wood-poppy is still found in these areas because they were unsuitable for agriculture, rather than being reflective of its true habitat requirements. Wood-poppy grows in full shade, although the cultivated variety does well in partial sun. Associated dominant trees include: Sugar Maple, White Ash, American Beech, Black Cherry, and Hackberry.


The primary threat to Wood-poppy is habitat loss and degradation due to residential development and road-building, agricultural expansion, logging, recreational activities and the impact of invasive species such as Garlic Mustard and Japanese Knotweed.


The Wood-poppy is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

What You Can Do to Help the Wood-poppy

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Wood-poppy. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery. If you find a Wood-poppy on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies; www.invadingspecies.com; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca.
  • The Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk. Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: www.carolinian.org/SpeciesHabitats.htm.

Did you know?

An individual Wood-poppy can produce over 1000 seeds in one year!

Did you know?

Wood-poppy seeds have an “elaiosome”, which is a fleshy structure that is rich in lipids and proteins. Ants, which are attracted to these elaiosomes, carry them back to their nests, feed them to their larvae, and then discard the intact seed. In doing this, the ants serve as dispersers of the Wood-poppy seeds.

Did you know?

Wood-poppy seeds require a period of cold and moist conditions (i.e. winter) in order to successfully germinate. This process is known as “stratification”.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.