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.
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 less understanding and growing opium poppies, even for ornamental use, is mostly a no-no.