Opium poppies

amazon(6)February 7, 2007

Are these dangerous in my yard. I have lots of kids around and try to stay away from anything dangerous. I didn't know if the opium is right there or if someone has to work hard at "cooking" it out. not a crackhead just a concered mom.lol

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If they are indeed Opium Poppies, you could be arrested for drug possesion or similar charges, as it is illegal to grow them in the USA (I'm assuming you are in the USA, if not it may not apply).

Note that there are many species of poppies that are not Opium poppies, and are harmless in that regard. Do you know which ones you have??

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 8:38AM
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These poppies are grown all over the world for their beautiful flowers and edible seed. Thomas Jefferson grew them at Montecello and I bought seeds in the gift shop years ago. Last time I was there they were selling the seeds for a different poppy though.

As I understand it opium is made by injuring the seed pod and collecting the sap that oozes out and cooking it down. There are probably strains that have been bred to ooze more sap, but I think the ones available commercially will give you better flowers and seeds and no sap.

I grow poppies for the flowers and I used to use the seed in a sugar syrup to make a pastry filling. Now we have goldfinches. They perch on the poppies and as the stalk waves back and forth the eat the seeds out of the pods. They are too cute to chase away, so now I buy my poppy seed filling.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:05AM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

There's a lot of confusion regarding the legality of opium poppies. To the best of my knowledge they are not illegal anywhere in the U.S. but it IS illegal to grow them for the purpose of manufactering opium. Occasionally some overzealous cops will destroy someone's flowerbed, but nobody's ever actually been convicted of a crime for growing flowers. In fact, a number of U.S. flower seed companies sell seeds for them.

To answer amazon's question, the unripe seed capsules do contain morphine and eating a couple could poison a child. If you have very young children who would likely eat something like that, you might be concerned.
On the other hand, seed capsules in general aren't particulary attractive to kids. They don't really look like something you would eat. Several years ago a major medical journal had an item about a mentally disabled person who died after "browsing" yew leaves. The medical writer advocated "removing all hazardous plants" from the grounds of all facilities with mentally disabled people. Unfortunately, he didn't realize how unrealistic that is. Better to keep an eye out.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 5:34PM
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I almost paniced at the first posters reply. The seed catalouge called them the old opium poopies. i bought them just becuase they are pretty and it is kinda cool. Not that I would tell anyone else they'd likely get stolen from my yard. I know my mom got in "trouble' once as a young child for trying to make xtra money selling flowers that just happened to be the wrong kind of poppy. She obvioulsy didn't know why at the time she was 8. There are several things i want to grow but I'm afraid of, castor bean, poppy, datura. Of course I already have morning glory and have never had a problem. I would feel horrible if some doofy kid/dog did decide to munch on my datura.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 4:15PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you with my first reply, but, to inform. The subjet of growing poppies is a legal quagmire. Here is a clip from the DEA website itself as to what can happen:



On July 22, 2004 the DEA San Jose Resident Office and the Santa Clara County Sheriffs Office seized and destroyed approximately 19,000 opium poppy plants growing near San Martin. The poppy plants were growing among other flowers on 11 acres close to U.S. Highway 101. A local florist rented the land to grow a variety of flowers, including the poppies, for his business. The florist allegedly did not know that growing opium poppies was illegal, and sold them from his flower shop in bouquets of 7 to 10 flowers. Law enforcement officials found no evidence that the poppies were being grown for illicit purposes, as there were no attempts to conceal the plants as well as no evidence that the plants had been scored. The investigation revealed that other florists in the area - also allegedly unaware that growing opium poppies was illegal - have been growing opium poppies as well. As a result of this incident, a local florists association was planning to send information to area florists advising them that growing opium poppies is illegal.


Granted, they were commercially growing them,so that made them more 'suspect' of illicit activities, but homeowners are also on shaky ground if they are planted in your yard.

In the current litigeous state of American life and 'The War on Drugs', you could be sitting in jail in without a moment's notice - for 15 years and a $25,000 fine, according to a few websites, just because of their existence in your yard. Better not to have them at all.

I am not a lawyer, but I would contact one if you wish to continue growing them in your yard, to get informed about all the legal ramifications of having these plants.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 11:01AM
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By the way each area in the US is different when it comes to growing poppies. The hotter the climate (Florida or California) the more Illegal and watched for. It losses it's potency in colder climates in the north. You ARE allowed to have them in your yard. If you have a small amount of them it's fine. Now if they see slits in them from extracting the sap you can be penalized. So I can understand the California bust but don't let it worry you. Read a little more about your local area and growing poppies.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:15AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

This plant self seeds in my garden and has never caused any problems. Would you feel better if you called them breadseed poppies? Same species produces the seeds on your bagel.The commercially grown OPs have huge seedpods. Much bigger than your average garden ones.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:19AM
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True- they are baking seeds poppies.
Legal in Canada. Can't imagine a law against them. I understand acreage in poppies, but not just in the flower border- jeez!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:16PM
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kadasuki(z6 NW AR)

That is a beautiful flower! I've never grown poppies, but have admired them.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 9:54AM
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The laws that regulate opium poppies cover the entire country. They are federal laws. Now that I have your attention let me say to get arrested for opium poppy growing you whould have to have acres and acres of poppies. The US gardener interested in the flowers has nothing to worry about as long as your not dealing drugs. So if a DEA person sees my flower bed with my poppies I have nothing to worry about.
Next, small childern could be affected by chewing on seed pods when they are ripe. The amount in a seed pod would make them sleepy for a while but not "overdose" them. At anytime supervision of childern around my garden would be important.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 9:39PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

It's funny this post is in the "Edible" Landscape Forum.

If you want to know whether or not your poppy flowers contain "narcotic" alkaloids, just chew a few seeds and hold them on the tip of your tongue. If you get a numbing "buzz", they're the real thing.

At that point, don't EVEN get caught scoring the buds with a dull knife. The phloem that oozes out is pure opium alkaloid and THAT is illegal!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:34AM
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I am retired from the US Dept of Justice and worked for the DEA for @10 years. The poppies mentioned are illegal by federal law and in certain states by state law. Many state laws contradict federal law. They were legal to grow in Missouri and Washington, but illegal in Texas. I know of a grandmother who grew them in San Antonio, TX and was arrested and convicted for such. She was totally innocent of intentional wrong doing and was growing them as heirloom flowers - very beautiful. A new neighbor turned her in. She received probation, but did get the conviction. Don't think she would have been convicted in Missouri or Washington, but it is possible because they are illegal under federal law.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:25PM
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That is too funny!

I had a little old Polish lady who lived beside me for several years. I turned my entire front lawn into a garden including the foot that boardered her driveway, I felt her driveway was the end of her property, she felt she still owned 1 foot over, directly in front of my house... A small silent war that was fought by her ... cutting down all my poppies only 1 foot within her driveway!! I would howl with laughter to see 3 poppies cut down, and then 1 only inches away spared because it was further then 12 inches from her driveway!

Oh well, if it let her sleep at night who was I to make a big deal out of it?

We are in Canada, I am certain she thought they where illegal!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:11PM
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egnilk66(9 - Southern California)

The FedGov is ridiculous.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 2:18PM
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I just realized this is a super old post but here's my 0.02 worth.

Opium comes from the pods of the flower in which seeds collect.
When the pods dry they crack open and seeds spill out to grow another year.

If one cuts the undried pods a liquid with opium in it will ooze out. The amount of opium one
would get is nil. It's bitter (I think) and no one would eat it even accidentally.

The seeds are exactly the same used on poppy breads. I don't know why but the opium poppy seeds are maybe better tasting,
more nutritious, or maybe you simply get more from opium poppy than other types of poppy. The seeds from a California poppy
probably taste terrible if they have any taste as they're really small (so small I can't recall ever seeing any).

So if you're worried simply don't grow them.
on the other hand it's irresponsible for us, the government in the USA, to go around looking for trouble in someone's yard and thus I encourage you to grow what pleases you.
One key to the US Constitution is to pursue happiness.
Rich and powerful people like Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and all of the dead soldiers who fought for the USA did it for the words on that document.

My opinion about growing things that please you is that God gave us the ability to be happy over smallest of things like beauty. The beauty in that photo isn't even 1/100th of the real life beauty.

About children and animals. The seeds aren't harmful and
are nutritious. If you open the pods after they're dried
you'll have seeds to cook with, enough to grow the next year, and even some to feed to wild birds.

The seeds have at least this in them: per tblspoon
link here
http://www.acaloriecounter.com/search/poppy seeds

Dietary Fiber: 1.716 g
Vitamin C: 0.088 mg
Calcium: 126.544 mg
Iron: 0.859 mg
Magnesium, Mg: 30.536 mg
Phosphorus, P: 76.56 mg
Potassium, K: 63.272 mg
Zinc, Zn: 0.695 mg
Copper, Cu: 0.143 mg
Manganese, Mn: 0.59 mg
Selenium, Se: 1.188 �g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): 0.156 mg
Thiamin: 0.075 mg
Riboflavin: 0.009 mg
Niacin: 0.079 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.029 mg
Vitamin B-6: 0.022 mg
Folate, total: 7.216 �g
(folate is critical for 'pre'pregnant women (just as you become pregnant you need this)

Thiamin: 0.075 mg
Riboflavin: 0.009 mg
Niacin: 0.079 mg
These are Vitamin B's (I think) which are critical to good
brain function.

My points are.. you can eat the seeds and you're getting
good nutrition and vitamins.

As I research more about food I begin to think that eating
where our foods (not added vitamins) but foods with vitamins
are the smart way to eat. Historically we've seen better
health from 'natural' all inclusive foods rather than man
made isolated nutrition. In 2012 this is becoming more
obvious and here's why:

More testing is being allowed for the use of marijuana.
I've read reports, from the researchers themselves, who
are saying that it's not one isolated compound that helps
people but that it seems that it's the entire plant, with
all of its compounds, which is more helpful for the purpose
for which the research was done (to determine if cannabis would help people's ills).

The other side:
This isn't necessarily the case with all plant compounds.
When we look at native people who've worked with plants
for 1000 years we see that they occasionally prepare
the plants or foods. This changes and removes or adds
compounds to the plants.

Equal time 'off'.

Plant what pleases you and talk to friendly attorneys.
Turn them back into the 'good guys' they were supposed to
be by loving them and befriending them. Don't isolate
yourself. Forums are great but real people are better.

Good luck. Sorry if I wasted your time.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:32AM
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OK...technically in the US (and many other countries, it varies), any PART of the plant, except the seeds are illegal(!?) Classified as (Federal) Schedule 2 drugs (alkaloids extracted, e.g. morphine, codeine, are Schedule 1, the MOST illegal). However, as far as prosecution this is a bit of a "gray area"...Many web sites sell seed pods for flower arrangements...but people make "tea" (supposedly tastes disgusting!) w/ 'em to get high.

And, yes, could be potentially FATAL. Seed pods contain lots of opiates/alkaloids...Eating a few, could be harmful or fatal, especially for a small child or animal. All parts of plant contain SOME alkaloids, but in lesser concentrations, so you'd need to ingest a lot more for any effect.

Even if you only plant a few, they produce copius amounts of seeds, could end up with lots more, if not careful!

Kind of a shame, as they are quite pretty!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 1:18PM
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