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Monday, 23 June 2008
Papaver rhoeas


It’s almost the end of the poppy season now, but I found a field with a few still going strong. While these poppies are not narcotic, there are fields in the UK devoted to producing opium.

According to the BBC:

The wild field poppy enjoys cultivated, disturbed soil, which is why swathes of scarlet blooms often appear in cornfields. The basic form has scarlet, single flowers, each petal often marked at its base with a black blotch. Size varies according to the soil in which plants grow, the poorer the soil, the smaller and paler the blooms… Plants self-seed readily.

Wikipedia has some information about the history of this plant:

It is known to have been associated with agriculture in the Old World since early times. It has most of the characteristics of a successful weed of agriculture. These include an annual lifecycle that fits into that of most cereals, a tolerance of simple weed control methods, the ability to flower and seed itself before the crop is harvested. Like many such weeds, it also shows the tendency to become a crop in its own right; its seed is a moderately useful commodity, and its flower is edible[citation needed].

Its origin is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practised since the earliest times.

Posted by bigblue on 23/06/2008 at 11:55 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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