For romantics, it conjures up images of summer more readily associated with Provence. To farmers, it is an annoying weed. But, love it or loathe it, the poppy is painting the British countryside red.
Conservationists and wild-life experts confirmed that the delicate scarlet bloom is robustly asserting itself across the country, thanks to the weather and the green lobby.
English Nature and the Royal Horticultural Society say poppies are beyond normal levels, particularly in the Midlands and East Anglia.
Guy Barker, head adviser for the Royal Horticultural Society, said: "Certainly we are seeing more poppies. Like many plants, it has good and bad years. The seeds can remain dormant for 30 years."
Experts say the damp, warm spring encouraged the poppies to flourish in growing crops, and more land is available, "set aside" to aid bio-diversity.
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