Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Papaver somniferum

Below is the notorious Papaver somniferum or opium poppy, growing in Giverny, France. Most people probably know that this plant is responsible for the drugs morphine, codeine and of course, heroin.

Poppies were first recorded as a cultivated plant by Sumerians around 4000BC. They called it the 'plant of joy' presumably due to the narcotic effects the plant had on them.

The seed pods themselves are quite sculptural in the garden but no, you probably won't be able to do much with this plant in its rare form. (Not that you'd try.) The process of converting the milky sap of the fruit into a drug is fairly complicated, as I recently learned in an article on PBS Frontline. But you can enjoy the lovely flower of this annual, self-seeding plant. You can also enjoy poppyseed muffins, but remember what happened to Elaine on Seinfeld.

There are over 100 species of Papaver. Though I cannot find out why this plant was given the genus name Papaver, somniferum refers to the sleep-inducing qualities of this plant.


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Jennifer G. Horn said...

Glad to hear it Andrew, thanks!

Prescott said...

It is an annual, of up to 1 meter of height, little graft plant, with the oblong leaves, sinuosodentadas in the edges, with the petals of several colors, targets, pink, red and violets, with a dark spot in the base. The fruit is a capsule of good size. It is spread by the south of Europe, North Africa, central and South Asia and America.
It exists in the Iberian Peninsula, in addition to the narcotic, another plant with similar effects, the Chelidonium majus, well-known with the names of golondrinera grass or the wanderers, verruguera grass and celidueƱa. Latex removes rarely from the incisions of the immature fruits and of other parts of the plant. This latex coagulates in contact with the air.
The opium is a mixture of ranges, different resins, sugars and other substances, between which 20 have pharmacological activity, almost all alkaloids like: morphine, codeine, thebaine, narcobathtub, narceĆ­na and papaverina; most important of all of them it is the morphine, contained in the opium in variable proportion (3-22 %) and to which it confers his main qualities.

Foreign Pharmacies said...

The repercussions of the abuse are many, like undernourishment, tremors and manifold infections in different vital organs, but coverall a great dependency. The depression created by the deficiency, along with the intense degree of tolerance that creates these drugs, finishes in a painful necessity of the substances, and the heroin injection is the average one to avoid the suffering: the abstinence syndrome, with which the drug for the addict one lets constitute a source to please, to get to become a vital necessity tragically.