Cruciform Pattern to Center of Wild Opium Poppy! by Navigator

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Cruciform Pattern to Center of Wild Opium Poppy! by 

Austin, Tx., USA, early March

(CAUTION: POISON! Don’t mess with Mother Nature! Whether this one can be used for medicinal purposes or not, it requires the expertise of a botanist or medical specialist. Please do not attempt to cultivate these wild flowers for drug use! Also, Heroin has caused so much suffering in this country! Please avoid this drug!)

That said, this is a very interesting plant! You’ll love reading about it. I have provided a number of links.

Opium Poppy? Probably someone did this deliberately to play a joke on me, because the flowers popped up (so to speak :P) in one of my favorite parks for taking photos. I know who that is. haha. Funny. Probably saw my submissions to “The Addicted Photographer’s Group”. I don’t do drugs, funny person! Pretty flower, btw. I had never seen it before. Thanks. Very informative. I wondered about the cruciform maroon markings in the center of the flower. Apparently this is the Opium Poppy’s signature marking, and this is the wild variety, i.e., Wild Opium Poppy, as opposed to the cultivated ones. Each petal has the dark maroon marking at its base.

Papaver somniferum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. somniferum
Binomial name
Papaver somniferum

But here’s the link in Wikipedia’s nice long article, worth looking up: (excerpt below taken from this link)

also of interest:

From Wikipedia:

“Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine (and its derivative heroin), thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine. The Latin botanical name means the “sleep-bringing poppy”, referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates.

The poppy is the only species of Papaveraceae that is an agricultural crop grown on a large scale. Other species, Papaver rhoeas and Papaver argemone, are important agricultural weeds, and may be mistaken for the crop.

The plant itself is also valuable for ornamental purposes, and has been known as the “common garden poppy”, referencing all the group of poppy plants.

Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil, a healthful edible oil that has many uses. It is widely grown as an ornamental flower throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia."

A few interesting links:\
(From the above link: “The flowers vary in colour from pure white to reddish purple. In the wild plant, they are pale lilac with a purple spot at the base of each petal.”)

This lovely wildflower was being blown about by the wind, and sometimes the petals would be pulled open, providing a lovely display. Thus, the wind became the artist, displaying this beautiful flower so many different ways. I just couldn’t tire of capturing it! I searched a number of places before I found it. I don’t think it’s native here, but I"ll keep looking. This was obviously a prank. Quite funny, actually, and a lovely plant. No wonder the bee in a previous photo was staying in the flower! hah!


cruciform center, opium poppy, papaver somniferum, opiates, heroin, morphine, codeine, sleep bringing poppy, garden poppy

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m currently working on a book. My interest in photography began with the discovery of my friend Bonnie’s beautiful photo gallery on Red Bubble. I never cease to be amazed at the little discoveries one makes of God’s awesome creation.

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  • goddarb
    goddarbabout 2 years ago

    I like the colours and I appreiciate that there must have been a great wind. The flowers look almost like tulips but tulips don’t have fuzzy stems. Good luck.

  • Beth, it is SIMILAR to the Tulip in its general shape, but the flower petals are different, as well as the interior. Also, the Pistol contains a sap which is used to cultivate various drugs. It has medicinal uses, but one should not attempt to use this on their own. It is quite a process to extract the drug, and without the correct approach, it is toxic. So in that, it is quite different from the Tulip! :) Its petals are much more fluid, and yes, it was very windy while these were blooming! I might have some better subsequent photos. I’ll have to look. The winds this Spring have been pretty strong. A photo challenge. Thanks, Beth!

    – Navigator

  • kalaryder
    kalaryderabout 2 years ago

    We used to grow these as ornamentals when I was small, I don’t think it occured to anyone to be concerned about them or think of them as anything but pretty

  • You are right. In fact, they are still grown as ornamentals, along with Red Poppies. We also have here the wildflowers – PRICKLY POPPIES! :))) These are white, and I have posted a photo or two of them recently. I might post another soon. The Prickly Poppies grow along roadsides and in fields and parks. They are huge and I love them. They too are used for medicinal purposes. Thanks, kalaryder!

    – Navigator

  • lorilee
    lorileealmost 2 years ago

    Congratulations!! Your LOVELY image is being
    FEATURED in the group, “Wildflowers of North America!!”

  • Gee, lorilee, I do feel very humbled by this one. I might have taken some better ones later on. I’ll have to look. But I find that cruciform pattern fascinating in light of the use of this flower! I can’t get over how appropriate it is! You know, I just don’t believe in coincidence! I’ll look to see if I had some better photos later on. As Beth noticed, we’ve had some strong winds all through Spring. These Poppies have been growing right in a windy area, and capturing good photos of them has been difficult. Anyway, I’m truly delighted to have my photo featured! It is a VERY interesting plant, even if the photo isn’t perfect! Thank you so much!

    – Navigator

  • goddarb
    goddarbalmost 2 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature. It is a unique flower.

  • Thank you, Beth. It is unique. They are no longer blooming now, though. It’s too hot, already in the 90’s in the afternoon. :)

    – Navigator

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