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poppy,common name for some members of the Papaveraceae, a family composed chiefly of herbs of the Northern Hemisphere having a characteristic milky or colored sap. Most species are native to the Old World; many are cultivated in gardens for their brilliantly colored if short-lived blossoms. Many of the species have several varieties and show a wide range of colors, especially in red, yellow, and white shades.
The true poppy genus is Papaver, but many flowers of related genera are also called poppies. The most frequently cultivated are the Oriental poppy (P. orientale), usually bearing a large scarlet flower with a purplish black base, and the corn poppy (P. rhoeas) and its variety, the Shirley poppy. Other well-known species include the arctic Iceland poppy (P. nudicaule), the celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) of North America, and the cream cups (Platystemon californica) and California poppy, or eschscholtzia (Eschscholtzia californica), of the W United States (the latter is the state flower of California).
The Old World greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), also called swallowwart or wartweed, was formerly believed efficacious in removing warts and in restoring failing eyesight. (The lesser celandine is an unrelated plant of the buttercupbuttercup
common name for the Ranunculaceae, a family of chiefly annual or perennial herbs of cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Thought to be one of the most primitive families of dicotyledenous plants, the Ranunculaceae typically have a simple
..... Click the link for more information. family.) The orange-red sap of the bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), an early spring wildflower of E North America, was used by Native Americans as a dye and skin stain. This and many other members of the family are employed for various medicinal purposes.
Economically, the most important plant in the family is the opium poppy (P. somniferum), now widely cultivated from Europe to East Asia. The milky sap of its unripe seed pods is the source of opiumopium,
substance derived by collecting and drying the milky juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Opium varies in color from yellow to dark brown and has a characteristic odor and a bitter taste.
..... Click the link for more information. and several other similar drugs, e.g., morphinemorphine,
principal derivative of opium, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. It was first isolated from opium in 1803 by the German pharmacist F. W. A. Sertürner, who named it after Morpheus, the god of dreams.
..... Click the link for more information. , codeinecodeine
, alkaloid found in opium. It is a narcotic whose effects, though less potent, resemble those of morphine. An effective cough suppressant, it is mainly used in cough medicines. Like other narcotics, codeine is addictive. See drug addiction and drug abuse.
..... Click the link for more information. , and heroinheroin
, opiate drug synthesized from morphine (see narcotic). Originally produced in 1874, it was thought to be not only nonaddictive but useful as a cure for respiratory illness and morphine addiction, and capable of relieving morphine withdrawal symptoms.
..... Click the link for more information. . Poppyseed, also called maw seed, is not narcotic; used as birdseed and for a flavoring or garnish in baking, it is also ground for flour. Poppy oil, derived from the seeds, is employed in cooking and illumination and in paints, varnishes, and soaps.
The poppy has been the symbol of the dead and of sleep since antiquity. The poppies of "Flanders fields" are celebrated in a poem by John McCrae and are the Memorial Day or Armistice Day (Veterans' Day in the United States) emblem of World War veterans. Poppies are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Papaverales, family Papaveraceae.