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
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)
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.
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
Any other international notes would be appreciated. /msg me.