Despite the Stigmas that surround this beautiful flower, Somniferum Poppies are perfectly Legal for Gardeners LIKE US, to grow for their Seeds, Culinary Uses, and/or Aesthetics (according to Reliable sources such as Wikipedia.org and WSU.edu)
Allow me to first make it clear that we are GARDENERS, with a Passion for growing Beautiful Flowers. The purpose of thie Article is to keep Gardeners Properly Informed about their Rights and Responsibilities as Growers.
(we do NOT offer, or claim to offer, Legal Advice of any kind, in ANY WAY)
Our hope is to provide some insight, as to why any confusion exists regarding the Papaver somniferum Species.
A VERY COMMON Question I come across:
Q: “What kind of Poppies Produce or Make Opium”?
A: ALL Papaver somniferum Poppies (AKA: BreadSeed Poppy, P. Paeoniflorum) & it’s Parent; P. Setigerum, Contain Morphine, Codeine, Thebaine, and other Alkaloids that Pharmaceuticals are made from, and are the same Poppies the Afghans use to create the World’s worst poison of all; Heroin
Which leads to the next Question;
YES!! It’s perfectly LEGAL to Grow Papaver Somniferum Poppies for Aesthetic and/or Culinary purposes.
NO!! It’s NOT Legal to Grow Opium Poppies for the sake of Harvesting the ‘Opium’ or via ‘Poppy Straw’ method.
(The term ‘Poppy Straw’ originates from a mechanized method of processing the whole poppy plant, rather than the Lancing of their Individual Pods, thus decreasing the high cost of human labor)
BUT We’re just Gardeners! Should we worry? I’M CONFUSED.
Why do you think we took the time to create this Post? People have a Tendency to Confuse “OPIUM”, with the “Somniferum Poppy“. But to simplify, think of “Opium” as someone’s Blood. Perhaps the Blood of a Beautiful Person. Now, if the Poppy Plant was their Body, there’d be nothing wrong with appreciating their “outer Beauty“, right? Exactly!! I shouldn’t need to explain any further, since I’d rather not go into the bloody details, but let’s just agree that no matter how you look at it, accessing their “inner Beauty“ would NOT be legal (nor nice), and would probably involve Handcuffs, a Strip Search, 3 Hots, a Cot, and lot’s of Cold Concrete (and the possibility of Bubba discovering YOUR ‘Inner Beauty‘)
So, the Info that one may find while Researching Poppy Laws, may sometimes have to do with their Intent.
But feel free to read the Answers for yourself via @ the Reputable Sources below:
(Don’t see anything below? GO HERE)
The University of Washington’s Vegetable Research and Extension Center says…
“It is Legal to grow Papaver somniferum in the United States for garden and seed production purposes; it is only illegal to manufacture opium from the poppies.”
According to the Wikipedia.org, the U.S. Law states:
Click on the Screenshot to View actual WIKI Page shown below:
Not only are the SEEDS 100% Legal To Possess, Buy, Sell, and GROW in the USA,
But you can even Buy LIVING Papaver Somniferum PLANTS in the USA, if you look around at your Local Nursery or Grocery Store.
In fact, here’s a photo of one I purchased at my Local grocer (who also happens to be a Major Chain).
This wasn’t just a one-time thing either.
They sell them every year and have a variety of them. As do 3 other Nurseries in my area.
The only part that is rare about this Photo, is that they usually don’t label them as “Somniferum”. They usually call the “Breadseed” poppy, or “Paeoniflorum”
This last year, they were Selling Fresh Cut Somniferum Stems sitting in Water for $1.99 each
(click Images below to enlarge)
There are usually TWO Opposing Opinions (below).
Pay close attention to the ‘Wording’.
It all has to do with the grower’s ‘Intent’.
Only ONE can be Right;
YES! Somniferum Poppies are 100% LEGAL to grow for their Seeds & Aesthetics
To learn how,
SEE OUR POPULAR TUTORIAL:
There is most definitely a ‘Grey Area’ of Confusion on this Matter – and it seems to be quite the Conversation on every Gardening Blog, Video Comment, or Forum I read these days.
As a Master Botanist with a PHD in Bio-Genetics, I concluded that there are THREE main Factors the Confusion stems from:
- Several Conflicting Sources of Information on the Web, that people StumbleUpon while Searching, for Example:, ‘Tips about Growing Somniferum Poppies’ in their area (USDA Zone, State, or Country).
- So, depending on how one might go about their ‘Web search‘, will variably effect the kind of Info that gets returned in their search results.
- Therefore, it all has to do the Grower’s ‘Intent’, since that will probably dictate the way they go about their ‘Web Search’.
So, on ONE Side of the Spectrum:
The average Gardener who purchased a ‘Living Somniferum Plant Start‘ at their Local Nursery, would probably perform a Search on Google for something like: “Gardening Tips for Transplanting Somniferum Poppies’
Or perhaps, ‘What are Papaver somniferum Poppies‘?