DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Macrophotograph of Papaver somniferum, the opium flower. At centre is the starfish-like stigma, the female reproductive organ, where pollen is deposited by insects. Beneath is the large carpel at the base of which are the egg-bearing ovaries. The pinkish fringe consists of numerous stamens topped by pollen-producing anthers, the male reproductive structure. Opium is collected after the flower has fallen. The circumference of the capsule (carpel) is slit, allowing the latex to ooze out. It hardens, is scraped off & formed into balls. Crude opium contains numerus alkaloids including morphine, heroin & codeine. Mag:X 0.5(at 35mm size).
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