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botanical name:
Papaver somniferum
Papaver somniferum © Deeproot Plant Base
common name:  Opium poppy
family:  Papaveraceae
characteristics: annual/biennial
height: 1.20m
width: 0.30m
growth rate: fast
growth habit: erect
leaf colour: blue-green
flower colour: mauve
fruit colour: blue-green
main season: Summer
poison symbol poisonous or irritant
edible symbol edible
medicinal symbol medicinal
aspect: full sun
conditions: dry soil, moist soil, sandy soil
preferred soil pH: any
minimum temp: -18°C
USDA zone: 7 to 10
description:
Upright annual or biennial with glaucous blue-green, toothed, deeply lobed leaves. In summer leafy stems carry the solitary, bowl-shaped purple-mauve, red or white flowers which sometimes have dark spots at the base of the petals. Large blue-green seed heads follow.

cultivation:
Prefers a hot sunny open site and free drained soil, but will grow in most locations and soils.

propagation:
From seed in spring. May self seed freely in suitable locations.

usage:
The seed heads are the source of the drug opium and its derivatives.
The seeds themselves are edible and commonly used for various culinary purposes, particularly baking and cake making or as a flavouring spice. Although all parts of the plant have an opiate content, it is insignificant when used for culinary purposes.

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