Allow me to first answer 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)
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, sometimes has 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, the U.S. Law States:
“…the opium poppy is legal for culinary or aesthetic reasons…”
Click on the Screenshot to View actual WIKI Page shown below:
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‘?
(many times, even Seed Packets are Labeled Alternative Florist Names such as ‘Bread Seed Poppy‘, ‘papaver paeoniflorum‘, there are also related Wild Strains such as ‘Papaver Setigerum’ but rarely seen at stores)
SO WHY ELSE DO PEOPLE GROW THEM? U Ask?
In my opinion, Somniferum Poppies, have some of the most Exotic blooms, Amazing Colors, and Beautiful Flowers of any kind I’ve Seen.
If you disagree, take a look at the FLICKR SLIDESHOW & Our VIDEO from some of our recent Grow Seasons- ALL of which are Somniferum Poppies: