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Opium poppies in a field

Opium poppies in a field

B640/0085

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Credit

BOB EDWARDS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BOB EDWARDS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Opium poppies. Field of white poppies, Papaver somniferum, a plant which is used to make the drug opium. Opium consists of the sap from the unripe seed capsules of the plant. It is used medicinally for the pain killing alkaloid drugs within it, such as morphine, heroin & codeine. It is also used as a narcotic as it brings on pleasurable dreams and visions. Prolonged use of opium can lead to addiction to it. The main areas of P. somniferum cultivation are Turkey and India. The plant reaches a height of about 80 centimetres and flowers from June to August, the seed capsules developing soon afterwards. Photographed in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.

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