Opium Poppy – Papaver somniferum

This beautiful scrunched tissue-like bloom has appeared as of nowhere in my garden but a few times over the years. It is a tall and hairy poppy, with large flower heads of pink to reddish-pink and purple. The leaves are a bluish-green, and shallowly lobed.

It flowers June to August, and can be found in gardens, and waste ground as an escape. Introduced to the British Isles and cultivated in antiquity. Scarce in Scotland and Ireland, but common and widespread elsewhere.

It used to be called the ‘Common Garden Poppy’, for it was widely used as an ornamental plant, but today it is frowned upon because of its use in illegal drugs like heroine and opium. But it is also used in medicine as a pain relief such as codeine.