Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy)

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Group of deep red flowers, buds and seed pods. Plant with wavy toothed greyish-green leaves and tall stems bearing purple flowers with four petals forming a shallow cup. The central capsule swells to a fleshy-ridged oval with a flat top. Seeds ripen within this capsule. Opium is extracted from the latex of the unripe seed pods and is prepared by drying the latex. Other simple extracts from the whole plant include morphine, codeine, thebaine, heroin and papaverine. Ripe seeds are inocuous and widely used in baking and confectionary.


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Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy). Credit: Rowan McOnegal. CC BY-NC


Credit: Rowan McOnegal

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