A surprising look at the plants around us and how they've influenced our world.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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.