2010/09/27

Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy)

Today we take a look at a plant which on the one hand is a popular food item, but on the other hand is a rather problematic plant for the human race, at least for some of us.
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine, thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine. The Latin botanical name means, loosely, the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates.
But besides the opiates, Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil, a healthy edible oil that has many uses. It is widely grown as an ornamental flower throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Papaver somniferum has many sub-species or varieties and cultivars. Colors of the flower vary widely, as do other physical characteristics such as number and shape of petals, number of flowers and fruits, number of seeds, color of seeds, and  production of opium.

Prefers a rich well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Requires a moist soil  but does not do well on wet clays. Prefers a sandy loam or a chalky soil. Plants often self-sow in British gardens. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deers, rabbits or other animals.
In each country, Opium poppy cultivation is treated in a different way. In the United States, opium is listed as a Schedule II Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition, "Opium poppy and poppy straw" are also prohibited. However, this is not typically enforced for poppies grown or sold for ornamental or food purposes. 

36 comments:

  1. beautiful scan and i love your layout

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  2. I never knew english name ot if. Now I'm sure that I'm gone memorize it ;)

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  3. i've never tried poppy seed anything...

    but I guess I'll do so now! cool & informative :]

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  4. Lol my grandma has always had few of those in her garden. I wonder what shes doing with them lol

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  5. now I am a bit more educated xD

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  6. awesome plant! has a possibility of making you rich!

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  7. i would put this plant in my room if i could

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  8. I just took a class on middle eastern economics, so this stuff was interesting to me. It's pretty much what Afghanistan runs off of...

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  9. This is very interesting to read.

    Never thought of plants in this fashion.

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  10. very informative, i also really like the look of your blog. hope to see more

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  11. I need to start growing some poppies then :D

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  12. Whenever I hear "poppy" mentioned, my mind jumps right to the Seinfeld episode. I think Mythbusters did an episode on it, and it turned out you can actually test positively on a drug test, have you been stuffing your face with poppy seed products the same day. Love the post. :)

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  13. Ah poppies. Very informative, I'm interested in plants so it's nice to get daily botany lessons. =p

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  14. thanks for the info , always injoy it

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  15. I am 100 % a fan of ur blog. Great info about the interesting plants.

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  16. this is a good post that makes me want to come back for more

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  17. Who knew this would happen to civilization?

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