Corn Poppy – Papaver rhoeas

Corn Poppy
Corn Poppy

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

– John McCrae

A hardy annual native to Europe, but has been naturalized throughout the United States

The foliage is said to have been used as a vegetable, and the syrup prepared from the petals has been employed as an ingredient in soups and gruels.

Attempts have also been made to utilize the brilliant red of the petals as a dye, but the color has proved too fugitive (unstable) to be of use. The syrup has, however, been used as a coloring matter for old ink.

This plant normally has red petals, which were an ingredient in Syrup of Red Poppy, a sedative and a cough suppressant for children. The corn poppy is also known as the field poppy, the Flanders poppy or the red poppy. It contains rhoeadine, a sleep-inducing and pain-relieving alkaloid similar to (yet safer than) opium alkaloids. The crimson flowers of this plant are traditionally used to make a soporific tea. To prepare this infusion, add 1 to 2 tsp. of dried petals to a cup of hot water. Allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Consume the infusion before going to bed.

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