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Breadseed Poppy Papaver somniferum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
pah-PAY-ver som-NIH-fer-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Opium poppies are erect annuals in the Papaveraceae family.  They have gray-green leaves, showy flowers, and a milky juice that exudes from the plant when cut.  The milky latex has compounds in it that concentrate at higher temperatures and can be used to create opioid medicines.  

Although it is illegal to grow opium poppies in North Carolina, it is legal to sell and buy the seeds.  Garden poppies are a different species and may or may not contain opium alkaloids 

Take care that pets and children do not sample poppies as they are poisonous. Opium poppy reseeds and may spread easily in southern gardens.

 

More information on Papaver.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Flowers Galore
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Jimi's Snowflakes'
    Striking white blooms easy to grow
'Jimi's Snowflakes'
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#interesting flowers#perennial#easy to grow#red flowers#showy fruits#illegal#large flowers#late spring flowers#dried arrangements
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Jimi's Snowflakes'
    Striking white blooms easy to grow
'Jimi's Snowflakes'
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#interesting flowers#perennial#easy to grow#red flowers#showy fruits#illegal#large flowers#late spring flowers#dried arrangements
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Papaver
    Species:
    somniferum
    Family:
    Papaveraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Opium, morphine codeine, and heroin are made from the milky sap of the unripe fruit capsules.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Distribution:
    Illegally planted, sometimes persisting in old gardens
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, hover flies.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Poppy seeds used as the topping of bread are safe.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit a capsule with an expanded disc at the top and over small holes through which the minute seeds are dispersed. Seed pods are showy and are often used in dried arrangements.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers solitary terminal, with 5 or more showy petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are gray green, alternate, simple, clasping, toothed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems contain white latex sap
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Stupor, coma, shallow and slow breathing, respiratory and circulatory depression.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloids, morphine and others
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Sap/Juice