Opium poppy field

In my last post I was talking about some of my favourite plants from yesteryear. Since then I have developed a soft spot for Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum), which can be grown legally here in the UK. In fact, this impressive view is a field of poppies being grown commercially by a farmer in Oxfordshire – they will be harvested and turned (via an industrial process) into diamorphine, a painkiller in high demand in the NHS. To do that you require a license from the Home Office.

Papaver somniferum

Papaver somniferum

Papaver somniferum

Gardeners are more likely to cultivate Opium poppies for their stunning flowers, and their edible seeds, but perhaps not on this scale 🙂