Sp. Pl. 508 (1753) APNI
Plants annual, caulescent, to 1.5 m high, glabrescent to setose, glaucous; stems simple or branched. Leaves to 30 cm long; blades unlobed or once pinnately lobed, usually shallowly to deeply toothed, the upper with stem-clasping bases. Peduncles often sparsely setose; sepals glabrous or setose; petals to 6 cm long, white, pink, red, or purple, often with dark or pale basal spot; filaments white to dark violet, filiform or clavate, anthers pale yellow to brownish; stigmas 5–18, disc ± flat. Capsules stipitate, subglobose, to 9 cm long, not ribbed, glabrous, glaucous. Flowers Oct.–Apr.
*CVU, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *HSF, *LoM, *MonT, *MuM, *NIS, *OtR, *VRiv, *VVP. Unknown in wild state, probably originally from south-eastern Europe and/or Asia Minor. Occurs spasmodically throughout the State, usually in dryish, open, disturbed sites, in gravel, sand, loam, and clay.
Papaver somniferum has long been cultivated as the source of opium (and the modern derivatives morphine and codeine), and also for edible seeds and oil. As well, various colour forms with laciniate and/or doubled petals are grown as ornamentals. Two subspecies (or varieties) are sometimes distinguished: subsp. (or var.) somniferum and subsp. (or var.) setigerum, the former comprising the cultivated forms, and the latter the weedy Atlantic and Mediterranean form, which some have posited as the progenitor of the cultivated plants. Subsp. somniferum is characterized by glabrous sepals, pale filaments, and glabrous or only very sparsely setose upper leaf surfaces, and subsp. setigerum by setose sepals, dark filaments, and sparsely to densely setose upper leaf surfaces. These distinctions hold only generally, however, and individual plants with intermediate conditions are not uncommon, especially in Australia and other areas where the species has been introduced in relatively recent times.
|Bioregion||Occurrence status||Establishment means|
|Victorian Volcanic Plain||present||naturalised|
|Central Victorian Uplands||present||naturalised|
|Northern Inland Slopes||present||naturalised|
|East Gippsland Uplands||present||naturalised|
|New South Wales|
|Australian Capital Territory|