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Family Papaveraceae, containing about 44 genera and 760 species of mostly herbaceous plants and some woody small trees and shrubs. Most species of this family, which is outstanding for its many garden ornamentals (largely of the genus Papaver) and for pharmaceutically important plants, are found in the Northern Hemisphere. All have cup-shaped flowers, a capsule fruit, leaves that are usually deeply cut or divided into leaflets, and coloured sap. Members include the opium poppy and the corn, or Flanders, poppy (P. rhoeas), the seeds of which may lie dormant for years. The latter became a symbol of World War I because it bloomed in fields that had been disturbed by battle. See alsoCalifornia poppy.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on poppy family, visit Britannica.com.
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