opium poppy


opium poppy

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.
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