Opium poppy

Opium poppy

Overview
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 from which opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 and poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

s are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiate
Opiate
In medicine, the term opiate describes any of the narcotic opioid alkaloids found as natural products in the opium poppy plant.-Overview:Opiates are so named because they are constituents or derivatives of constituents found in opium, which is processed from the latex sap of the opium poppy,...

s, including morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 (and its derivative heroin), thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

, codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

, papaverine
Papaverine
Papaverine is an opium alkaloid antispasmodic drug, used primarily in the treatment of visceral spasm, vasospasm , and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction...

, and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

. The Latin botanical name means the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

 properties of some of these opiates.

The poppy is the only species of Papaveraceae
Papaveraceae
Papaveraceae, informally known as the poppy family, are an economically important family of 44 genera and approximately 770 species of flowering plants in the order Ranunculales. The family is cosmopolitan, occurring in temperate and subtropical climates, but almost unknown in the tropics...

 that is an agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 crop grown on a large scale.
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Encyclopedia
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 from which opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 and poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

s are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiate
Opiate
In medicine, the term opiate describes any of the narcotic opioid alkaloids found as natural products in the opium poppy plant.-Overview:Opiates are so named because they are constituents or derivatives of constituents found in opium, which is processed from the latex sap of the opium poppy,...

s, including morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 (and its derivative heroin), thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

, codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

, papaverine
Papaverine
Papaverine is an opium alkaloid antispasmodic drug, used primarily in the treatment of visceral spasm, vasospasm , and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction...

, and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

. The Latin botanical name means the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

 properties of some of these opiates.

The poppy is the only species of Papaveraceae
Papaveraceae
Papaveraceae, informally known as the poppy family, are an economically important family of 44 genera and approximately 770 species of flowering plants in the order Ranunculales. The family is cosmopolitan, occurring in temperate and subtropical climates, but almost unknown in the tropics...

 that is an agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 crop grown on a large scale. Other species, Papaver rhoeas and Papaver argemone
Papaver argemone
Papaver argemone is a species of the genus Papaver. Its common names include long pricklyhead poppy and pale poppy. Its native range includes parts of Eurasia and North Africa, and it is cultivated as an ornamental plant...

, are important agricultural weeds, and may be mistaken for the crop.

The plant itself is also valuable for ornamental purposes, and has been known as the "common garden poppy", referencing all the group of poppy plants.

Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil
Poppyseed oil
Poppyseed oil is an edible oil from poppy seeds . The oil has culinary and pharmaceutical uses, as well as long established uses in the making of paints, varnishes, and soaps.Poppy seeds yield 45–50% oil...

, a healthful edible oil that has many uses. It is widely grown as an ornamental flower throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Varieties


Papaver somniferum has many sub-species or varieties and cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s. Colors of the flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

 vary widely, as do other physical characteristics such as number and shape of petals, number of flowers and fruits, number of seeds, color of seeds, production of opium, etc.

Papaver somniferum Paeoniflorum Group (sometimes called Papaver paeoniflorum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double
Double-flowered
"Double-flowered" describes varieties of flowers with extra petals, often containing flowers within flowers. The double-flowered trait is often noted alongside the scientific name with the abbreviation fl. pl....

, and are grown in many colors. Papaver somniferum Laciniatum Group (sometimes called Papaver laciniatum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double and deeply lobed, to the point of looking like a ruffly pompon.

A few of the varieties, notably the Norman and Przemko varieties, have low morphine content (less than one percent), much higher concentrations of other alkaloids. Most varieties, however, including those most popular for ornamental use or seed production, have a higher morphine content, with the average content being 10%.

Opiates


The opium poppy is the principal source of most naturally occurring μ-opioid receptor agonist opioid
Opioid
An opioid is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract...

s. The opium poppy is, by definition, the root source of all opioids considered opiates. Opiates are extracted from opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 and poppy straw. Opium (also called “raw opium”) is the latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 harvested by making incisions on the green capsules (seed pods). Poppy straw is the dried mature plant except the seeds, harvested by mowing.

From opium and poppy straw alkaloids are extracted such as morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

, codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

 and oripavine
Oripavine
Oripavine is an opiate and the major metabolite of thebaine. It is the parent compound from which a series of semi-synthetic opioids are derived, which includes the compounds etorphine and buprenorphine...

. Morphine is the predominant alkaloid found in the varieties of opium poppy plant cultivated in most producing countries.

History


Use of the opium poppy predates written history. Images of opium poppies have been found in ancient Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ian artifacts (ca. 4000 BC). The opium poppy was also known to the ancient Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, from whom it gained its modern name of opium. Remains have been discovered at sites such as Kalapodi
Kalapodi
Kalapodi is a village in the Lokroi municipality, Phthiotis, Central Greece. The name also denotes an archaeological site ca. 1 km east of the village, where an ancient sanctuary was discovered. Cult activity here seems to have begun in the late Bronze Age and continued without break into the...

 and Kastanas.

Opium was used for treating asthma
Asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

, stomach illnesses, and bad eyesight. The First
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 and Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

s between China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 took place in the late 1830s through the early 1860s when the Chinese attempted to stop western traders selling opium into China.

Many modern writers, particularly in the nineteenth century, have written on the opium poppy and its effects, notably L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

 in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

and Thomas de Quincey
Thomas de Quincey
Thomas Penson de Quincey was an English esssayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater .-Child and student:...

 in Confessions of an English Opium Eater

The French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 used opium to be inspired, subsequently producing his Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

. In this work, a young artist overdoses on opium and experiences a series of visions of his unrequited love.

Opium poppies (flower and fruit) appear on the coat of arms of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
Royal College of Anaesthetists
The Royal College of Anaesthetists is "the professional body responsible for the specialty of anaesthesia throughout the United Kingdom". It sets standards in anaesthesia, critical care, pain management, and for the training of anaesthetists, physician assistants - and practising critical care...

.

Legality

  • Opium poppy cultivation in the United Kingdom does not require a license, but extracting opium for medicinal products does.


  • In Italy it is forbidden to grow Papaver somniferum to extract the alkaloids, but small numbers of specimens can be grown without special permits for purely ornamental purposes.
  • In the United Arab Emirates
    United Arab Emirates
    The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

    , where the drug law is especially stern, at least one man was reported to have been imprisoned for possessing poppy seeds obtained from a bread roll.
  • In northern Burma opium
    Opium
    Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

     bans have ended a century old tradition of growing poppy. Between 20,000 and 30,000 ex-poppyfarmers left the Kokang
    Kokang
    Kokang , formally the First Special Region, is a self-administrative region of Burma . It is located in the northern part of Shan State, with the Salween River to its west, and it shares a border with China's Yunnan Province in the east. Its total land area is around . The capital is Laukkai...

     region as a result of the ban in 2002. People from the Wa
    Wa State
    Wa State is an unrecognised state in Myanmar and is currently subsumed under the official Wa Special Region 2 of the Northern Shan State. The administrative capital is Pangkham . The name Wa derives from an ethnic group, who speaks a language in the Austroasiatic family of languages...

     region, where the ban was implemented in 2005, fled to areas where growing opium is still possible.
  • In the United States, opium is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration
    Drug Enforcement Administration
    The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

    . In addition, "Opium poppy and poppy straw" are also prohibited. However, this is not typically enforced for poppies grown or sold for ornamental or food purposes. Though the opium poppy is legal for culinary or æsthetic reasons, poppies were once grown as a cash crop by farmers in California, the law of poppy cultivation in the United States is somewhat ambiguous. The reason for the ambiguity is because, now repealed
    Repeal
    A repeal is the amendment, removal or reversal of a law. This is generally done when a law is no longer effective, or it is shown that a law is having far more negative consequences than were originally envisioned....

    , The Opium Poppy Control Act Of 1942 stated that any opium poppy should be declared illegal, even if the farmers were issued a State permit. § 3 of The Opium Poppy Control Act stated:
It shall be unlawful for any person who is not the holder of a license authorizing him to produce the opium poppy, duly issued to him by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to produce the opium poppy, or to permit the production of the opium poppy in or upon any place owned, occupied, used, or controlled by him. This led of to the Poppy Rebellion, and to the Narcotics Bureau arresting anyone planting opium poppies and forcing the destruction of poppy fields of anyone who defied the prohibition of poppy cultivation. Though the press of these days showed favour
Bias
Bias is an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of alternatives. Bias can come in many forms.-In judgement and decision making:...

 towards the Federal Bureau of Narcotics
Federal Bureau of Narcotics
The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury. Established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 consolidating the functions of the Federal Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotic Division...

, the state of California supported the farmers who grew opium poppies for their seeds. Today, this area of law has remained vague and remains a controversy in the United States.
  • The seeds themselves contain very small amounts of opiates. However, the television show MythBusters
    MythBusters
    MythBusters is a science entertainment TV program created and produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is screened by numerous international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel Australia, Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel Canada, Quest...

    demonstrated that one could test positive for narcotics after consuming four poppy seed bagels. On the show Brainiac: Science Abuse
    Brainiac: Science Abuse
    Brainiac: Science Abuse is a British entertainment TV show with a science motif. Numerous experiments are carried out in each show, often to verify whether common conceptions are true or simply to create impressive explosions...

    , subjects tested positive after eating only two poppy seed bagels.

Poppies as medicine


Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 are the major producers of poppy for medicinal purposes and poppy-based drugs, such as morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 or codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

. The USA has a policy of sourcing 80% of its narcotic raw materials from the traditional producers, India and Turkey.

A recent initiative to extend opium production for medicinal purposes called Poppy for Medicine was launched by The Senlis Council which proposes that Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 could produce medicinal opium under a scheme similar to that operating in Turkey and India. The Council proposes licensing poppy production in Afghanistan, within an integrated control system supported by the Afghan government and its international allies, to promote economic growth in the country, create vital drugs and combat poverty and the diversion of illegal opium to drug traffickers and terrorist elements. Interestingly, Senlis is on record advocating reintroduction of poppy into areas of Afghanistan, specifically Kunduz, which has been poppy free for some time.

The Senlis proposal is based in part on the assertion that there is an acute global shortage of opium poppy-based medicines some of which (morphine) are on the World Health Organisation's list of essential drugs as they are the most effective way of relieving severe pain. This assertion is contradicted by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the "independent and quasi-judicial control organ monitoring the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions". INCB reports that the supply of opiates is greatly in excess of demand.

The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 government has given the go-ahead to the pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith (a Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey plc is multinational chemicals and precious metals company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.-History:...

 company) to cultivate opium poppies in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 for medicinal reasons. This move is well-received by British farmers, with a major opium poppy field based in Didcot
Didcot
Didcot is a town and civil parish in Oxfordshire about south of Oxford. Until 1974 it was in Berkshire, but was transferred to Oxfordshire in that year, and from Wallingford Rural District to the district of South Oxfordshire...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

.

In March 2010, researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

 published an article in Nature Chemical Biology
Nature Chemical Biology
Nature Chemical Biology is a monthly, peer-reviewed, scientific journal, which is published by Nature Publishing Group. It was first published in June of 2005 . Terry L. Sheppard is a full-time professional editor with the title, "Chief Editor", and employed by Nature Chemical Biology...

 about their discovery of two enzymes and their encoding genes, thebaine 6-O-demethylase (T6ODM) and codeine O-demethylase (CODM), involved in morphine biosynthesis
Biosynthesis
Biosynthesis is an enzyme-catalyzed process in cells of living organisms by which substrates are converted to more complex products. The biosynthesis process often consists of several enzymatic steps in which the product of one step is used as substrate in the following step...

 derived from the opium poppy. The enzymes were identified as non-heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 dioxygenase
Oxygenase
An oxygenase is any enzyme that oxidizes a substrate by transferring the oxygen from molecular oxygen O2 to it. The oxygenases form a class of oxidoreductases; their EC number is EC 1.13 or EC 1.14....

s, and were isolated using functional genomics
Functional genomics
Functional genomics is a field of molecular biology that attempts to make use of the vast wealth of data produced by genomic projects to describe gene functions and interactions...

. Codeine O-demethylase produces the enzyme that converts codeine into morphine.

Use as food



The opium poppy is the source of two food ingredients: poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

 and poppyseed oil
Poppyseed oil
Poppyseed oil is an edible oil from poppy seeds . The oil has culinary and pharmaceutical uses, as well as long established uses in the making of paints, varnishes, and soaps.Poppy seeds yield 45–50% oil...

. The seeds contain very low levels of opiates, and the oil extracted from them contains even less. Both the oil and the seed residue also have commercial uses.

Poppy seeds



Poppy seeds are commonly used in cuisine from many different cultures.
Poppy seeds can be dry roasted and ground to be used in wet curry (curry paste) or dry curry. They have a creamy and nut like flavor, and when used with ground coconut, the seeds provide a unique and flavour-rich curry base. http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=941

Ornamental cultivation



Once known as the "common garden poppy", live plants and seeds of the opium poppy are widely sold by seed companies and nurseries in most of the western world, including the United States. Poppies are sought after by gardeners for the vivid coloration of the blooms, the hardiness and reliability of the poppy plants, the exotic chocolate-vegetal fragrance note of some cultivars, and the ease of growing the plants from purchased flats of seedlings or by direct sowing of the seed. Poppy seed pods are also sold for dried flower arrangements.

It has been suggested that, since "opium poppy and poppy straw" are listed in Schedule II of the United States' Controlled Substances Act
Controlled Substances Act
The Controlled Substances Act was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain...

, a DEA
DEA
DEA is the commonly used acronym for the Drug Enforcement Administration, a United States law enforcement agency.DEA or Dea may also refer to:- Organizations :* DEA , UK development education charity...

 license may be required to grow poppies in ornamental or display gardens. In fact the legal status of strictly ornamental poppy gardens is more nuanced, and destruction of ornamental poppy installations or prosecution of gardeners (except those caught extracting opium via capsule scarification or tea extraction) are virtually unheard of. During the early spring, opium poppies can be seen flowering in gardens throughout North America and Europe, and beautiful displays are found in many private planters, as well as in public botanical and museum gardens (e.g. United States Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, North Carolina Botanical Garden, residential garden, Seattle, WA, and residential garden, Hartford, CT).

Many countries grow the plants, and some rely heavily on the commercial production of the drug as a major source of income. As an additional source of profit, the seeds of the same plants are sold for use in foods, so that cultivation of the plant is a significant source of income. This international trade in seeds of Papaver somniferum was addressed by a UN resolution "to fight the international trade in illicit opium poppy seeds" on July 28, 1998.

Popular culture


Recently a feature film entitled, "Poppies: Odyssey of an Opium Eater" was produced (Never released) exploring the life of Eric Detzer and how he would go about acquiring opium poppies from flower shops and gardens in the Pacific Northwest (north of Seattle) to feed his addiction. This is a true story based on a book written by Detzer starring David Bertelsen. Since the festival release of this film in Breckenridge, CO, eBay has stopped allowing the sale of opium poppy pods on their auction site. This may also be attributed to the death of a Colorado teen who overdosed on opium tea around the same time.

What may be the most well known literary use of the poppy occurs both in L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

and in MGM's classic 1939 film based on the novel
The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The lyrics for the songs...

.

In the novel, while on their way to the Emerald City, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion walk through a field of poppies, and both Dorothy and the Lion mysteriously fall asleep. The Scarecrow and the Tin Man, not being made of flesh and blood, are unaffected. They carry Dorothy to safety and place her on the ground beyond the poppy field. While they are considering how to help the Lion, a field mouse runs in front of them, fleeing a cougar. The Tin Man beheads the cougar with his axe, and the field mouse pledges her eternal gratitude. Being the Queen of the Field Mice, she gathers all her subjects together. The Tin Man cuts down several trees, and builds a wagon. The Lion is pushed onto it, and the mice pull the wagon safely out of the poppy field.

In the 1939 film, the sequence is considerably altered. The poppy field is conjured up by the Wicked Witch of the West
Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West is a fictional character and the most significant antagonist in L. Frank Baum's children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

, and it appears directly in front of the Emerald City
Emerald City
The Emerald City is the fictional capital city of the Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum's Oz books, first described in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

, preventing the four travelers from reaching it. As in the novel, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion fall asleep, but in a direct reversal of the book, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man are unable to carry Dorothy. Glinda
Glinda
Glinda is a fictional character in the Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. She is the most powerful sorceress of Oz, ruler of the Quadling Country south of the Emerald City, and protector of Princess Ozma.- Literature :Baum's 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

, who has been watching over them, conjures up a snowfall which kills the poppies' narcotic power and enables Dorothy and the Lion to awaken. Unfortunately, the Tin Man has been weeping in despair, and the combination of his tears and the wet snow has caused him to rust. After he is oiled by Dorothy, the four skip happily toward the Emerald City.

In Baum's other Oz books, Oz's ruler, Princess Ozma
Princess Ozma
Princess Ozma is a fictional character in the Land of Oz, created by L. Frank Baum. She appears in every book of the series except the first, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz .She is the rightful ruler of Oz, and L...

, is often shown wearing poppies in her hair as decoration.

Poppy dilemma in Afghanistan


After the ousting of the Taliban from the town of Marja
Marja
Marja , also known as a marja-i taqlid or marja dini , literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference"...

 in the Southern Afghan province Helmand by Operation Moshtarak
Operation Moshtarak
Operation Moshtarak was an ISAF pacification offensive in the area that is described as the "poppy-growing belt" of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. The combat operations started on February 13, 2010, and focuses on the Nad Ali District and Lashkar Gah district...

, American and NATO commanders were confronted with the dilemma of, on the one hand, the need to "win the hearts and minds" of the local population and, on the other, the need to eradicate poppy fields and destroy the opium economy that allegedly financed the Taliban insurgency. It has been speculated that US Marines were ordered to ignore preliminarily the crops to avoid trampling the local farmers' livelihood, and that this might have been because there were no significant poppy fields there before the first US forces arrived.

General references


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