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Shirley Poppy Center
Photograph - Photography
Shot in my summer garden.
Papaver is a genus of 70-100 species of frost-tolerant annuals, biennials, and perennials native to temperate and cold regions of Eurasia, Africa and North America. It is the type genus of the poppy family, Papaveraceae.
The flowers have two sepals that fall off as the bud opens, and four (or up to six) petals in red, pink, orange, yellow, or lilac. There are many stamens in several whorls around a compound pistil, which results from the fusion of carpels. The stigmas are visible on top of the capsule, and the number of stigmas corresponds to the number of fused carpels.Poppies have been grown as ornamental plants since 5000 BC in Mesopotamia. They were found in Egyptian tombs. In Greek mythology, the poppy was associated with Demeter, goddess of fertility and agriculture. The origin of the cultural symbol was probably Minoan Crete, because a figurine known as the "poppy goddess" was found at a Minoan sanctuary in Crete. People believed they would get a bountiful crop if poppies grew in their fields, hence the name 'corn poppy'.
The seed-heads of Papaver somniferum are slit to release the latex, which contains various narcotics.
In the course of history, poppies have always been attributed important medicinal properties. The stems contain a milky latex that may cause skin irritation, and the latex in the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) contains several narcotic alkaloids, including morphine and codeine. The alkaloid rhoeadine, derived from the flowers of the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas), is used as a mild sedative. Poppy seeds are used in baking and cooking, and poppyseed oil is used in cooking and pharmaceuticals, and as a radiocontrast agent.
February 24th, 2013
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