Here at Garden Chief we do love the vibrancy of a poppy, whether it is a self seeder found growing wild or a carefully placed, beautiful ornamental, each has its place in our English landscape.
However this blog post is about a rather more unusual poppy - Papaver Somniferum, the medicinal lilac morphine poppy. Thanks to the glorious summer sun that we have been lucky to have had so far this year there has been a bumper crop and it can be seen growing in abundance across Dorset, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire.
This particular poppy is harvested to make pain-relieving drugs such as codeine and morphine. Traditionally it has been imported from Tasmania, Spain and Turkey, however to reduce costs its is being grown in this country.
Unlike the traditional red poppy which contains no morphine, they are white and lilac in colour and their latin name means 'sleep bringing poppy' which refers to its narcotic properties. In European cultures as early as 4000 BC it was used as a narcotic.