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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

Erect annual with milky juice; leaves alternate, simple, clasping, toothed; flowers terminal, with 5-more showy petals (white, pink, red, or purple); fruit a capsule with an expanded disc at the top and over small holes through which the minute seeds are dispersed.

In landscapes, occasionally in flower gardens, it is illegal to cultivate opium poppy. The garden poppies are a different species and may or may not contain opium alkaloids

Although it is illegal to grow opium poppies in North Carolina, it is legal to sell and buy the seeds.  Take care that pets and children do not sample poppies as they are poisonous. Opium poppy reseeds and may spread in southern gardens. A "pass-along" plant of great beauty.

HIGHLY TOXIC MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!

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 is made from the milky sap of the 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 bee hover fly.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Poppy seeds used as the topping of bread are safe.
  • 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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    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 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 terminal, with 5 or more showy petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    leaves alternate, simple, clasping, toothed
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • 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