Papaver genus, red-flowered and double and semidouble flowers. The unripe flowers buds when cut, exude a milky sap, opium, from which morphine, heroin, & codeine are derived. The opium poppy Papaver somniferum a native of Turkey is also grown for its nonnarcotic ripe seeds, which are used for seasoning, oil, and birdseed.

In Canada, people wear pins shaped like red poppy flowers on Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) and the days leading up to it (usually from just after Hallowe'en, so from November 1st to 11th) in remembrance of Canadian soldiers and of the devasting effects of war in general.

The Royal Canadian Legion and their Poppy Fund distribute the vast majority of the poppy pins and collect donations - their pins are made of plastic and have a small black eight-sided plastic centre on top of a moulded red plastic four-petaled flower, with a bent pin that hold them together and pins through your shirt. Schoolchildren delight in disassembling them and reversing them, and on November 12th, thousands of these poppies can be found lying scattered around everywhere - they have no clasp, and they get caught on things easily, so they're easy to misplace. I tend to go through at least two each year.

Iain tells me that the British Legion does much the same in Britain.

Some people make their own pins, out of creativity or protest or a desire not to contribute to the vast piles of non-biodegradable plastic littering the street. Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, for instance, has in the past made their own as an alternative to the Legion's poppies, in protest of the Legion's policy of not allowing turbans as part of their uniforms for those whose religion requires it.

The poppies refer to the traditional image of poppies growing over soldier's graveyards, as eloquently described in John McCrae's deathless poem In Flanders Fields, which most canadian schoolchildren must memorize at some point in their life.


Poppy is also the title of a children's book by Avi about Poppy, a mouse who defies a tyrannical owl, her father, and her bullying boyfriend to discover her own courage and safety and freedom for her family. It's the first of a series about her and her friends.

In 1995 the US DEA asked garden seed companies to stop selling opium poppy seeds for garden use. Compliance with this voluntary request has been spotty, with some seed catalogues not shipping Papaver somniferum to US addresses at all, and some shipping only limited quantities. Prosecuetion for ignoring this "voluntary request" is also apparently spotty but has been reported.

Opium poppies (also nicknamed 'Breadseed Poppy' and scientifically named Papaver somniferum and by one report also Papaver paeoniflorum) are beautiful annual plants with single and semidouble blossoms (there are at least 6 petals). Flowers are said to be red to purple , although I've read less commonly that there are lovely white ones too. Plants are 3 - 4 feet high and need about 1 square foot per plant to grow well. The toothed leaves are a blue/green color and have large, rounded seed pods. The pods dry easily to make nice flower arrangements. Seeds are also used in cooking such things as poppy seed cake and are sprinkled on rolls. When incised the immature seed head of the opium poppy exudes a latex like sap which is the narcotic base of opium. The tiny seeds can be saved from year to year but they also readily self seed and/or are spread by birds.

The poppy pins mentioned by yam above are based on Papaver rhoeas 'Legion Of Honor'. "These are the brilliant crimson 'corn poppies' that blanket the open fields of western Europe, where they’ve symbolized the courage and valor of fallen soldiers since World War I. The single blooms, with silky red petals and contrasting centers, stand strongly above finely cut foliage. Free-blooming ‘Legion of Honor’ poppies will resow to delight you anew each year." Corn poppies are quite easy to identify by the fact that they have only 4 petals


REFERENCES:
www.washingtonpost.com (article posted today)
www.britannica.com/bcom/magazine/article/0,5744,15405,00.html (very detailed and interesting article from Harpers posted in 1997 about the legal ramifications of growing opium poppy in the US)
www.poppies.org. (web site very dedicated to the proposition of making your own opium)
http://www.shepherdseeds.com (one source of seeds and the author of the quote above)


skow says breadseed (Papaver somniferum seed) is used on bread in the Netherlands, It's called maanzaad, literally moonseed. In the US it is just called poppy seed and is used on rolls, bagels and in cakes.
heppigirl says During world war 2, and definitely before that point as well, the national flower of Poland is the corn poppy. Ok, back years ago most villages/farms had wild opium filled poppies in their yards and fields in Poland (national flower etc). The poppy seeds would be taken from the flower - soak it in milk, wrap it in a damp cloth and give it to their infants to suck on if they had a tooth or tummy ache, to help them sleep if they wouldn't, or simply if they wanted their children quiet and out of the way - mum said it meant the kiddies were always a little quiet, slow and mellow
momomom says Don't-Try-This-At-Home!
Any other international notes would be appreciated. /msg me.

The poppy family, Papaveraceae, is also charactarized by two often fused sepals which often cover the developing flower and may fall off when it opens, and 4 petals. Some poppies, such as California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica may be charactarized by extremely soft petals as well.)
'Poppy' also can be taken to mean something which is associated with pop culture, or upbeatness and 'saccharine' sound. This is often heard relating to 'punk' music, as many of such punk/ska/rock bands such as less than jake or home grown are referred to as poppy punk. The prior bands are very good bands, however, as is referenced by New Found Glory, poppy music can also be insidiously annoying, uncreative, and just plain lousy

When harvesting opium from the poppy it is quite effective to slice the poppy seedpod about 10 to 20 days after the plant blooms. Cutting an approximately 1/2 millimeter deep horizontal scratch into the side of the pod will cause the pod to bleed white latex (the thick opium syrup containing both codeine and morphine). After 4 hours the latex should have turned brownish and is ready to harvest by scraping of the edge of the pods and collecting. This latex syrup is opium and can be utilized in many ways, all of which can be dangerous and habit forming. Be careful!

Pop"py (?), n.; pl. Poppies (#). [OE. popy, AS. popig, L. papaver.] Bot.

Any plant or species of the genus Papaver, herbs with showy polypetalous flowers and a milky juice. From one species (Papaver somniferum) opium is obtained, though all the species contain it to some extent; also, a flower of the plant. See Illust. of Capsule.

California poppy Bot., any yellow-flowered plant of the genus Eschscholtzia. -- Corn poppy. See under Corn. -- Horn, ∨ Horned, poppy. See under Horn. -- Poppy bee Zool., a leaf-cutting bee (Anthocopa papaveris) which uses pieces cut from poppy petals for the lining of its cells; -- called also upholsterer bee. -- Prickly poppy Bot., Argemone Mexicana, a yellow-flowered plant of the Poppy family, but as prickly as a thistle. -- Poppy seed, the seed the opium poppy (P. somniferum). -- Spatling poppy Bot., a species of Silene (S. inflata). See Catchfly.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pop"py (?), Pop"py*head` (?), n. [F. poup'ee doll, puppet. See Puppet.] Arch.

A raised ornament frequently having the form of a final. It is generally used on the tops of the upright ends or elbows which terminate seats, etc., in Gothic churches.

 

© Webster 1913.

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