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Poppy Corn

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  • Botanical: Papaver rhoeas
  • Family: Papaveraceae
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Poppy Corn

Botanical

Papaver rhoeas

Family

Papaveraceae

Known as

Common Poppy, Corn Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy, Flanders Poppy, Red Poppy, Red Weed, Klatschmohn, Blutblume, Feldmohn, Feuerblume, Feuer-Mohn, Flattermohn, Klatschrose, Kornrose, Schnalle, Wolder Mohn

Old Use

cooking; medical

Collection Times

summer to autumn

Parts Used

flowers, petals, seed

Medicinal

boils, coughs, depression, insomnia, menstruation promotion, nervousness

Infection & Inflammation

fever

Mind & Nerves

anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, pain relief

Respiratory System

cough

Properties

analgesic, antispasmodic, expectorant, sedative, tonic

Description

The plant is an annual herb which readily germinates from seeds. The branching stems have fine white or purple-red hair all along, especially at the flowering part. The flower stems are quite slender, and holds the solitary and terminal flowers. The bud is hanged upside down and then assumes a normal position just before blossoming. The stems have a white milky sap.

Most of the leaves are more or less found at the middle or lower part of the stem, leaving the flowers more conspicuous. They are stalked, oppositely arranged on the stems, and are so deeply pinnately divided, that each pinna (leaf lobe) is independent. They also have a coarsely serrated outline. The leaf pinnae and serrated outline varies from plant to plant.

The flower consists of 2 hairy sepals and 4 bright red to red-crimson petals, often having a dark blob at the base. The blob also varies from plant to plant and some may even lack it. The petals are fragile (detaches easily from the flower) and their size vary considerably, but can form flowers of about 50mm in diameter. At the center there is a globular or pot-shaped gynoecium that is pale green in colour and has radiating darker stripes at the top. The stigma are found upon these stripes. Encircling the base of the gynoecium is a cluster of many black stamens with anthers that may be covered with pale yellow or grey pollen.

The fruit is a seed capsule which is pale green and turns yellowish or light brown when the seeds matures. The glabrous seed-capsule is pot-shaped with a flattened top (lid) that has a slightly serrated circumference. The dehiscent poricidal capsule is operculate (possess a lid structure). It does not split open, but instead, the tiny (1mm), brown, kidney shaped seeds escape from pores at the lid part of the capsule when wind causes it to sway.

Properties & Uses

The flowers of corn poppy have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and children. Chiefly employed as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs, it also helps to reduce nervous over-activity.

Unlike the related opium poppy (P. somniferum) it is non-addictive. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist. The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative.

An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice. The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or made into a syrup.

The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug. The leaves and seeds are tonic. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers. The plant has anticancer properties. 

Other Uses

A red dye is obtained from the flowers, though it is very fugitive. A syrup made from the petals has been used as a colouring matter for old inks. The red petals are used to add colour to pot-pourri.

Traditional Use

The flowers of corn poppy have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and children. Chiefly employed as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs, it also helps to reduce nervous over-activity. Unlike the related opium poppy (P. somniferum) it is non-addictive. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist.

The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice. The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or made into a syrup.

The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug. The leaves and seeds are tonic. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers. The plant has anticancer properties

Cautions

This plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low. The seed is not toxic.

Distribution

Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia to India. In this country in corn-fields and waste places. Flowers June to August.

Constituents

Alkaloid Rhoeadin, Anthocyanglykoside, tannins, bitter substances, saponins, mucilage, red dye