Opium Poppy (Common name)

General Poisoning Notes:

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an ornamental flower that can still be found around some older homes. The plant persists by setting seed each year. This plant is the source of pharmacological and recreational drugs, as well as the poppy seeds that are used for oil and as a condiment on bagels, cakes, and other foods. Cattle have been poisoned in Europe after ingesting either stalks with pods that were being discarded or seed residue left over from oil extraction. Humans are either poisoned or addicted by various contained and derived chemicals found in the opium poppy (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Cooper and Johnson 1984). It is important to note that poppy seeds sold in stores are harmless, as the toxins have been destroyed by heat (Fuller and McClintock 1986).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.
  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Papaver somniferum L.
Vernacular name(s):
opium poppy
Scientific family name:
Papaveraceae
Vernacular family name:
poppy

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Papaver somniferum

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada, Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or Illustration

Images: Opium Poppy - Google search

Toxic Parts:

  • all parts
  • immature fruit
  • plant juices

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Notes on Toxic Plant Chemicals:

Opium poppy contains a crude resin, opium, that is found throughout the plant but is concentrated in the unripe seed pod in the milky sap. Medicinal drugs, such as morphine and codeine, as well as other alkaloids, such as papaverine and protopine, are found in opium poppy (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic Plant Chemicals:

  • codine
  • morphine
  • protopine

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cattle

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

Cattle that ingested plant material of opium poppy exhibited symptoms of restlessness and constant motion. Continuous lowing occurred. Feeding, rumination, and lactation ceased. Animals went into a deep sleep. Affected animals are an economic loss because of the slow recovery and reduced milk yield. Postmortem examination showed inflammation of the kidneys and intestines, with yellowing of the liver (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Humans

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.
  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.

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