A poppy is a flowering plant in the subfamily Papaveroideae of the family Papaveraceae. Poppies are herbaceous plants, often grown for their colourful flowers. It also produces edible seeds. Following the trench warfare in the poppy fields of Flanders during World War I, poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.
Poppies are herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial plants. Some species are monocarpic, dying after flowering. Poppies can be over a metre tall with flowers up to 15 centimetres across.The petals are showy, may be of almost any color and some have markings.
The flowers of most poppy species are attractive and are widely cultivated as annual or perennial ornamental plants. The opium poppy is widely cultivated and its worldwide production is monitored by international agencies. It is used for production of dried latex and opium, the principal precursor of narcotic and analgesic opiates such as morphine, heroin and codeine. Poppy seeds are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Poppy oil is often used as cooking oil, salad dressing oil, or in products such as margarine. Poppy products are also used in different paints, varnishes, and some cosmetics.
Ancient Egyptian doctors would have their patients eat seeds from a poppy to relieve pain. Poppy seeds contain small quantities of both morphine and codeine,which are pain-relieving drugs that are still used today.