Opium Poppies 11x14 SKSmith
This is the time of year when the lettuce shaped leaves of the opium poppy emerge in my part of Berkeley. Sadly, this year I planted no poppies because I didn't want to see them stolen like happened for the past three years. The papaver somniferum is a notorious and tragic flower. Most stories we hear about opium poppies relate to Afghanistan. Well, here in Berkeley I finally figured out why my poppies were stolen, always at the height of their splendor. Apparently opium tea is worth stealing poppies for. You can cut the heads right off and take them home for tea. Previously, I assumed any opium seeker would have to score the seedpod and collect the sap while leaving the seedpod intact on the poppy plant. But no, all one needs is a pair of pruners. And there is no way to hide one's poppies, as long as they are outdoors. So sadly I do not have my own papaver somniferum to paint. I shall have to seek images elsewhere, because I am addicted to poppies. Luckily, there are many other beautiful poppies to grow such as bread seed poppies. And none of them are controlled substances. Although it's legal to purchase seeds of papaver somniferum, all other parts of the plant are considered a schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. But generally gardeners are left alone if they are only growing a few poppies for flowers (to paint) and seeds for replanting and cooking.