The species, which grows up to 70 centimetres (28 in) in height, has large showy flowers which measure 50 to 100 millimetres (2 to 4 in).
The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface. The later capsules are hairless, obovoid in shape, and less than twice as tall as they are wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule.
One species of poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the source of the crude drug opium. It was the Assyrians who discovered the calming and sedative properties of the opium poppy, which they cultivated. They used it medicinally to relieve pain, induce sleep, and bring on feelings of serenity.
|Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)|
The morphine practically disappears from the seeds twenty days after the flower has opened, so from then on poppy seeds and their oils are not narcotic.
After the extensive ground disturbance caused by the fighting in World War I, bright red poppies bloomed in between the trench lines and no man’s lands on the Western Front. They have since become commonly used in western countries on and before Remembrance Day each year, as a symbol of remembrance inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders.”
Tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are cut down, bringing them down to your level. The concept of tall poppy syndrome originates from Roman historian Livy’s account of the tyrannical Roman King Tarquin the Proud, who was reputed to have struck off the heads of poppies as a graphic demonstration of the way in which important men of the captured city of Gabii should be treated.