Opium Poppy is a
annual plant of the UK, typically found growing in waste ground and cropland, to a mature height of up to 100cm.
Opium Poppy, as the name suggests, is used to make opium (from dried latex 'bled' from scored green poppy seed pods). Opium is then in turn processed to make opioid medicinal drugs (such as morphine) and illicit drugs (such as heroin). However, many modern cultivars produce very low amounts of opium. The Opium Poppy is an erect, branching plant with smooth, bluish-green, fleshy leaves and stems. The leaves are broad and long, with a prominent midrib, and their edges are crinkly, with large irregular teeth. The flowers are made up of floppy petals, with dark markings towards the centre, These petals may be pink, lilac, red, purple or white.
Botanic classification and naming: Opium Poppy is a member of the Poppy (Papaveraceae) family. The genus name
'Papaver' identifies the plant as a Poppy and its species name 'somniferum' means 'sleep-inducing plant'.
Concerns: The Opium Poppy is very poisonous to humans and pets, containing toxins affecting the nervous and respiratory systems.
Benefits: The Opium Poppy produces nectar-rich flowers for pollinators. It also provides food for seed-eating birds.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.