Poppy, Red Mix (Papaver somniferum)
Poppy, Red Mix (Papaver somniferum)
Poppy, Red Mix (Papaver somniferum)

Poppy, Red Mix (Papaver somniferum)

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*Designated an invasive species in the following states, no sale: WV

This is a mix of various colors of poppy flowers, predominantly red, with deeply cut or filly petals.  Also called Breadseed Poppy this species of beautiful poppy is the plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Poppies have become a valuable ornamental plant, grown in gardens where sub species range in color. A beautiful large seed pod is produced after blooming that can be added to art projects and dried arrangements.

Likely native to the eastern Mediterranean, this has been obscured by ancient introductions and cultivation across cultures. Today Papaver somniferum has naturalized across much of Europe and Asia. Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) once had importance as a plant based natural pain reliever from times dating back to early civilization. The powerful pain-relieving properties are described in various texts of Unani and Ayurvedic medical systems.

This poppy is grown today as an agricultural crop on a large scale to produce seeds that are eaten by humans. It is also grown to produce opium for use mainly by the pharmaceutical industry whom also grows this medicinal plant to produce other alkaloids, mainly thebaine and oripavine, that are processed into drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

In the garden, this beauty blooms early in the season providing vital forage for bees in early spring when other flowers have yet to bloom. Poppies are worth mass planting and will yield outstanding flowers that are stunning and unlike any other bloom in the garden.

Photo by Peg Schafer of Chinese Medicinal Herb Pharm.