DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Opium poppy. The flower of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, showing the sexual parts. At the centre is the green 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 structures fringing the carpel are stamens topped by pollen-producing anthers, the male organs of reproduction. Opium is collected after the flower has fallen. The circumference of the carpel is slit, allowing the latex to ooze out. It hardens, is scraped off and formed into balls. Crude opium contains numerous alkaloids including morphine,.
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