Growing Breadseed & Peony Poppies, Illegal or Not?
Hello fellow gardeners!
I have always loved poppies and peonies and have always longed to have them in the garden one day. Earlier this spring, I purchased a packet of seeds at the local Lowes home improvement store solely because of the beautiful peony-like blooms pictured on the packet. I figured, if I can't grow peonies here, then might as well grow poppies that look like peonies! A win-win situation right?! At any rate, I stuck them in the refrigerator crisper along with a packet of breadseed poppy seeds, which I received as a bonus for buying oriental poppy seeds at the One Stop Poppy Shoppe, to chill before fall planting. This week I sowed the seeds and decided to sit down at the computer for some in-depth research on growing poppies. However, while cruising the net, I began to read a lot of scary anecdotes and utterly ridiculous reports on the illegality of growing these plants (papaver somniferum and paeoniflorum) in the US due to the potential for being used to manufacture opium, morphine, etc.
If I'm correct in my understanding, according to law, one could sell the seeds and for garden or culinary use but cannot grow the plants-which means the seed companies must grow the plants illegally in order to sell the seeds. One can save the seeds from plants but not be in possession of any poppy straw (dried leaves, stalk, seed pods). Well, you'd have to dry the seed pod before you can obtain any seeds! There are a LOT of contradictory and confusing reports on this issue and now I'm paranoid I could one day be taken away in handcuffs and fined up to a million dollars for growing a few pretty flowers in the yard- Yikes! I'm wondering if anyone living around these parts, especially southern california, could shed any light on this confounded conundrum.