Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Papaver somniferum flowers
Papaver someniferum (Opium poppy)
What would life be like without the opium poppy? No poppy seed bagels. No beautiful poppy flowers. No Dorothy falling asleep in the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz. No morphine or codeine. The use of poppy as a pain killer is probably it's claim to fame and, when misused as in heroin, to infamy. The medicinal uses of opium poppy have been known for thousands of years. Turkey, India and surprisingly Australia, provide most of the worlds legal opium poppy. I once saw some opium poppy growing in a road divider on the way to Hadassah Hospital. Obviously it was planted for convenient use in the hospital, and not for any illicit uses.


  1. Actually, the wild Israeli poppies and the opium poppy are different species. The wild Middle-Easter species are numerous, small and red (http://flora.huji.ac.il/browse.asp?action=browse&group=1706), while the opium one (http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PASO2) is tall with large pink-purplish flower.

  2. Yes, but the poppies i saw on the way to the hospital were definitely NOT wild Israeli poppies, but opium ones that someone had planted in the public space.