Poppy Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Jane Nugent
Pittsburgh, PA
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Question by janenugent
December 3, 1999
Are ornamental poppies seeds edible? The poppy seeds that you buy in the food stories, can you buy those seeds and grow your own poppy seeds for cooking? And, do poppy seeds contain any opiates in them or is this found only in the opiate poppy?

Answer from NGA
December 3, 1999
There are a number of ornamental poppies. I suppose it might be possible to grow your own from the grocery store seeds if the storage conditions haven't been too extreme. The imported bread seed poppies are taken from the annual Papavar somniferum -- but in the USA it is against the law to grow these poppies so I really wouldn't recommend it.

Opium poppies were widely grown as an ornamental plant and for seeds in the United States until the possession of this plant was declared illegal in the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942. New generations of plants from the self-sown seed of these original poppies can still be seen in many old ornamental gardens. According to the sources I checked, it is technically illegal to possess any part of the plant Papaver somniferum except the seeds.

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