We’ve had a few opium poppies (Papaver Somniferum) in a flower bed for several years. They grow well and look very pretty. Unfortunately they are very good at spraying their seed and spreading. This year a dense swarm descended on part of our vegetable garden. We didn’t get around to weeding them out and then we thought we’d see what a poppy thicket would look like. Nice! At least it does for the moment – we must get rid of the plants before they fire their seed over the rest of the vegetable garden.
There’s a slide show with more photos here.
While it’s legal to grow opium poppies in New Zealand, it’s illegal to process them into a drug. Which does seem a little strange and overly trusting. You can’t grow marijuana plants as ornamentals, even if you say you won’t use them as a drug (yeah right). Possibly opium poppies are let of the hook because it’s much more of a hassle to turn the plant into opioid drugs. A commercial drug pusher would find it much cheaper to import heroin and other opiates. Besides which, it’s hard to disguise large plots of brilliantly coloured flowers.
I understand the law in America is much less understanding and growing opium poppies, even for ornamental use, is a no-no.