Poppy seeds

Papaver somniferum L.

Description

Poppy seeds are one of the oldest cultivated plants. Recent research seems to point at central and southern Europe as its original home. The plant is an annual with slightly branched stem that grows to a height of 0.5 1.5 m. As result of long cultivation now poppy seeds differ in flower color, color of seeds, oil content of seeds, and cultural requirements. The best known are the "White Poppy" and the "Blue Poppy", named for color of seed. The fruit is a bit oblong capsule, 4-6 cm long, 3-4 cm in diameter, with 8-12 rayed sessile stigmas. Seeds are less than 1 mm in diameter, kidney-shaped and has white, dark gray to black, or bluish color.   

 Harvest time

Harvested in July-August in Turkey, a month late in The Netherlands and Czech. February-March in Australia. 

Growing area

Australia, Czech, The Netherlands, Turkey

Uses

Seeds do not contain opium and are used extensively in baking and sprinkling on rolls and bread. Poppy seed oil is largely used for manufacture of varnishes, paints, and soaps, and in foods and salad dressing.