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Uses

Toxic parts

This plant contains a number of very toxic compounds, many of which are extracted and used as pain killers etc in medicine. They are also used to make various highly addictive narcotic drugs[1][2][3][4]. However, in the cooler climate of Britain these compounds are not formed in sufficient quantity to make their extraction worthwhile. There are no toxins in the seeds[2][5][4].

Edible uses

Notes

Seed - raw or cooked[6][7][8]. Much used as a flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads etc[9], it imparts a very nice nutty flavour[K]. The crushed and sweetened seeds are used as a filling in crepes, strudels, pastries etc[9]. Highly nutritious, the seed contains about 22.7% protein, 48% fat, 9.8% carbohydrate, 7.1% ash[10]. It is also a good source of lecithin[11]. The seeds are rather small, but there are large numbers of them contained in capsules 3cm or more in diameter and so they are easy to harvest and utilize[K]. The seeds are perfectly safe to eat, containing very little if any of the narcotic principles[2][4][12]. However, although the seeds contain no narcotic alkaloids, analysis of the urine following their ingestion may produce similar results to the analysis of the urine of morphine or heroin addicts[11].

Edible young leaves - raw or cooked[9]. They must be used before the flower buds have formed[10]. In some countries they are eaten at the seedling stage[11]. One report says that the leaves do not contain any narcotic principles[10]. Some caution is advised, see notes at top of the page.

A high quality edible drying oil is obtained from the seed. It has an almond flavour[12] and makes a good substitute for olive oil[13][5][14][15][9].

Leaves

Unknown part

Oil

Material uses

The seed yields 44 - 50% of an edible drying oil[16]. Very good for lighting, it burns for longer than most oils[17]. The oil is also used in paints, soap making etc[5][14].
There are no material uses listed for Papaver somniferum.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The opium poppy contains a wide range of alkaloids and has been a very valuable medicine, especially useful in bringing relief from pain. Its use (especially of the extracted alkaloids opium and morphine which it contains) can become addictive, however, and so it should be treated with extreme caution and only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[18].

The dried juice (latex) from the unripe green seed vessels is a rich source of the active alkaloids, including morphine[19][20]. It is extracted by making shallow incisions in the capsules as soon as the petals have fallen[21]. Care must be taken that the incisions do not penetrate to the interior of the seed capsules[21]. The latex exudes from the capsules and dries in contact with the air - it is then scraped off[21]. This latex is anodyne, antitussive, astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative[21][1][22][23][24][25]. As well as its pain-relieving properties, the latex has also been used as an antispasmodic and expectorant in treating certain kinds of coughs, whilst its astringent properties make it useful in the treatment of dysentery etc[21].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the dried latex[19]. This is used in the treatment of a variety of complaints, including constipation, fevers and insomnia[19].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[26].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Papaver somniferum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a rich well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[21][26]. Requires a moist soil[7] but does not do well on wet clays[17]. Prefers a sandy loam or a chalky soil[17]. Plants often self-sow in British gardens.

The opium poppy is a very ornamental plant that is often cultivated in the flower garden[27]. There are many named varieties, some of which have been developed for their edible uses[9]. The plant is widely grown, often illegally, in warm temperate and tropical climates for the substances contained in its sap. These are often used medicinally as pain killers, especially in the treatment of terminally ill patients suffering extreme pain, they are also used for their narcotic effects by some people. These substances are highly addictive and lead to a shortening of the life span if used with any frequency. In cool temperate zones the plant does not produce sufficient of the narcotic principles to make their extraction feasible[21] and cultivation of the plant is perfectly legal in Britain[K]. Plants have ripened their seeds as far north as latitude 69°n in Norway[28].

Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[29].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Papaver somniferum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Papaver somniferum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Papaver somniferum
Genus
Papaver
Family
Papaveraceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Papaver somniferum 'Opium poppy' (Papaveraceae) flower.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

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    2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
    3. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.3 Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.4 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden. Pitman Publishing ISBN 0-273-00098-5 (1976-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.49.5 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.3 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    15. ? 15.015.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.3 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
    18. ? 18.018.1 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.219.3 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.121.221.321.421.521.621.7 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    23. ? 23.023.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    24. ? 24.024.1 Emboden. W. Narcotic Plants Studio Vista ISBN 0-289-70864-8 (1979-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    26. ? 26.026.126.2 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    27. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    28. ? Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading ISBN 0704909820 (1986-00-00)
    29. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    30. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17

    "image:Papaver somniferum 'Opium poppy' (Papaveraceae) flower.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.