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Flowering plant (Papaver somniferum) of the family Papaveraceae, native to Turkey. Opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin are all derived from the milky fluid found in its unripe seed capsule. A common garden annual in the U.S., the opium poppy bears blue-purple or white flowers 5 in. (13 cm) wide on plants about 3–16 ft (1–5 m) tall, with lobed or toothed silver-green foliage. It is also grown for its tiny nonnarcotic ripe seeds, which are kidney-shaped and grayish blue to dark blue; the seeds are used in bakery products and for seasoning, oil, and birdseed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on opium poppy, visit Britannica.com.