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Papaver somniferum – Wikipedia

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**Botanical Description and Taxonomy**:
– Papaver somniferum is an annual herb with a height of about 100 centimeters.
– The plant has large, lobed, sparsely hairy leaves, and flowers with 3-10 cm diameter petals in white, mauve, or red.
– The fruit is a hairless, rounded capsule with radiating stigmatic rays.
– Carl Linnaeus described Papaver somniferum in 1753.
– The plant has 52 botanical varieties due to long cultivation, with one accepted subspecies being P. somniferum subsp. setigerum.
– Varieties and cultivars exhibit variations in flower colors, shapes, and opium production.

**Genetics and Metabolism**:
– Alkaloids in Papaver somniferum are synthesized through the benzylisoquinoline metabolic pathway.
– Genome analysis reveals 51,213 genes distributed across 11 chromosomes and unplaced scaffolds.
– Repetitive elements constitute 70.9% of the genome, with retrotransposons being prominent.
– Key genes for alkaloid conversion are located on specific chromosomes.
– The genome shows duplications dating back millions of years.

**Cultivation and Pest Control**:
– Growth stages of Papaver somniferum include seedlings, leaf formation, budding, flowering, and maturity.
– Effective pest control is crucial due to pests like flea beetles, aphids, and poppy root weevil.
– Weed control is vital in the initial 50 days after sowing, with herbicides like chlortoluron, mesotrione, and tembotrione being effective.
– Cultivation stages require proper weed management techniques and technological knowledge.
Poppy cultivation has ornamental value and is legal in the U.S. as a seed crop or ornamental flower.

**Distribution, Habitat, and Economic Impact**:
Opium poppy’s native range may be the Eastern Mediterranean, but it has naturalized in Europe and other regions.
– The plant thrives in temperate climates and is extensively found in the British Isles and many other countries.
– The global poppy seed market is influenced by key producing countries like the Czech Republic.
– The poppy industry in Tasmania plays a significant role in the local economy, with studies analyzing its economic significance.
– Legal regulations govern opium poppy cultivation in different countries, impacting the market and distribution.

**Medicinal and Pharmacological Uses**:
Opium poppy is used for treating various ailments like asthma, stomach illnesses, and bad eyesight.
Poppy cultivation in countries like Australia, Turkey, and India is for medicinal purposes, producing morphine and codeine.
– The plant has been studied for its medicinal properties, pharmacological effects, and implications for pharmaceutical use.
Opium poppy cultivation is regulated due to its narcotic properties and potential for misuse.
Opium poppy remains a significant source of morphine and codeine for the pharmaceutical industry.

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