Breadseed poppies: art, architecture and confusion
The San Francisco Chronical has a fantastic beginners tutorial on growing Breadseed Poppies (aka Opium Poppies) -- but while the article presents lots of useful information, its casual tone highlights the confusion over the legal status of Papaver Somniferum in the USA.
These plants are showstoppers. Passers-by routinely gawk at mine when they're in full bloom, the tallest at their eye level. With their impressive variety, spectacular blooms and strange seed pods, breadseed poppies are one of the easiest ways to add a bit of architecture and a lot of dazzle to your garden.
Let's just hope none of those passers-by are DEA agents. This wishy-washy nomenclature just further serves to cloud the issue and allow for selective persecution by the authorities. After all, these flowers are everywhere -- yet their legal status only ever becomes an issue when troublemakers happen to have a few in their garden.
So go ahead and plant your opium poppy seeds -- as long as you keep your nose clean and call your plants "Breadseed Poppies" you've got yourself a garden showpiece! If only it was that simple.