Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bee Buzz

A month ago, these strange blue green plants emerged in the garden. My first impulse was to pull them but upon further examination, I decided to leave them and see what they were. Well, as you can tell, they are Opium Poppies. The bees just love them....I hope they are not becoming addicted! My brother Russell, threw some seeds out in the garden years ago when my Mother was still alive (I'm in the family home) and they finally produced.

The flower's botanical name is papaver somniferum. The Sumerians called it Hul Gil, the 'flower of joy.' This flower is grown mainly by impoverished farmers on small plots in remote regions of the world. It flourishes in dry, warm climates and the vast majority of opium poppies are grown in a narrow, 4,500-mile stretch of mountains extending across southern Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Laos. Heroin is also increasingly becoming an export from Latin America, notably Colombia.

About three months after the poppy seeds are planted, brightly-colored flowers bloom at the tips of greenish, tubular stems. As the petals fall away, they expose an egg-shaped seed pod. Inside the pod is an opaque, milky sap. This is opium in its crudest form.

It's amazing how how a drug that has ruined so many lives can come from a plant that is so beautiful.


Paul said...

Anything bees love cannot be all bad. Beautiful flowers, Nancy.

Cezar and Léia said...

wow dear Nancy
These flowers are very beautiful indeed and I had never imagined that it could be the source for such an evil thing.
Very informative post!
Thanks a lot!

joo said...

Beautiful flowers - shame they are so badly used!

RuneE said...

Everything is poisonous to somebody - it depends on the use. Rhododendrons are highly dangerous if you eat the leaves, but would anyone in their right mind remove them?

I'm Julia said...

What a wonderful gift. The pods are just as beautiful as the flower, imo.

An aside: I have Le Jardin (main page) on my blog list, but it never shows your updates. I've removed & added it back several times, trying to shock it into action. Any ideas?

frenchie4moi said...

Julia - thanks, I'll figure it out.

SANDRA said...

Nancy, you should consider putting out a calendar of flowers...they are all fantastic. I LOVE the poppies, reminds so much of my childhood where everything grew wild and wonderful. These are especially beautiful....can you save me some seeds?

frenchie4moi said...

Sandra - of course!

kobico said...

I didn't realize opium poppies had thin, chrysanthemum-looking petals. Most of the poppies I have seen have had the wider petals. They look so delicate!

By the way, the opiates morphine and codeine, while addictive in their own rights, are highly effective short-term pain killers. Even so, I think they're over-prescribed. I've gotten through recovery from major surgeries (plate in the lower leg, achilles tendon rupture) taking just plain Tylenol without the codeine.

Oh, and speaking of the pods being beautiful, they also dry beautifully, as well!

oldcrow61 said...

I also have those poppies in the garden. They're lovely.

Cezar and Léia said...

Hello dear Nancy! I miss you and your beautiful creative posts here!
You know that all flowers, even the little ones and your friends in this "Garden"are thinking of you!
I hope everything will be okay there!
God bless you