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1/5

Opium poppy

Papaver somniferum

Balewort, Carnation poppy, Dream plant, Fairy's charms, Flower of Venus, Joan silver pin, John's silver pin, Marble flower, Maw seed, Moonflower, Opium, Peony poppy, Sweet slumber, White poppy

1/5

With its stunning flowers, long stems and green foliage the Poppy is a valuable ornamental plant which can form a show-piece of any garden. This is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived and is known to be the only species of Papaveraceae that is grown as an agricultural crop on a large scale. Not only is it a highly ornamental plant, with culinary and medicinal applications, but it is also the source of illicit drugs.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Fruiting time
Spring, Summer

Harvesting

Each poppy pod can produce many poppy seeds. When the crown on the poppy pod stands up and the pod takes on a chalky texture, it is time to harvest. Cut the poppy pods from the stems and let them dry in the sun or in a dry area. When the poppy pods are dry, turn them upside down to pour out and collect the poppy seeds.

Propagation

Seed
Sprinkle poppy seed on top of the soil from Autumn through Winter until Spring - they love the cool winter temperatures! Cover them lightly with soil and wet thouroughly.

Special features

Indoor plant
Simulate its natural growing conditions by growing it indoors. This poppy thrives best in cooler summer temperatures with plenty of natural sunlight.
Pot plant
Good to plant in pots, given sufficient drainage and sufficient sunlight.
Attracts useful insects
Ants, honeybees and other nectar-loving insects visit the flowers.

Geography

Origin
Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Wet
Soil type
Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Morphine and codeine are alkaloids found in poppies and commercially grown in India and Spain. The seed contain less than 1%.
Edible
Poppy seeds are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil. They can be dry roasted and ground to be used in wet curry (curry paste) or dry curry too. Seeds are used as bird food.

Personality

Family
Papaveraceae
Flower colour
White, mauve or red.
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pests include aphids, slugs and snails. Diseases include rootrot.

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