Papaver somniferum L.
Poppy seed is the dried seed of Papaver somniferum, an erect annual herb, 30-150 cm long with 0.5-1.5 cm thick stem. Stem is glabrous with thick waxy coating. Leaves are numerous, alternate, spreading horizontally, 15-25 cm long. Flowers are few, solitary, on a 10-15 cm long peduncle. Fruit is a capsule with waxy coating. Seeds are numerous, very small, white grey with an oily endosperm. Poppy is a self pollinated plant. The seed is the spice.
Origin and Distribution
The centre of origin of Poppy is the Western Mediterranean region of Europe and is cultivated in India, Russia, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal for its legal pharmaceutical use. It is also grown illegally for the narcotic trade in Burma, Thailand and Laos (Golden Triangle) and Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran (Golden Crescent). Poppy is cultivated in temperate and sub-tropical region and requires well drained, highly fertile, light black cotton soil having good percentage of fine sand. In India it is a licensed crop since the latex of the mature fruit are collected for the production of opium, a narcotic substance.
Poppy seed (Khas Khas) is used as food and as a source of fatty oil. It is widely used for culinary purposes. Because of its highly nutritive nature it is used in breads, cakes, cookies, pastries, curries, sweets and confectionery. Its seeds are demulcent and are used against constipation. The capsules are used as a sedative against irritant coughing and sleeplessness in the form of syrup or extract.
Indian Name of Spices
Hindi : Kashash Bengali : Kashash Gujarati : Khuskhush Kannada : Khasksi Malayalam : Kashakasha Marathi : Khus khus Punjabi : Khush khush, Khas Sanskrit : Khasa, Khakasa Tamil : Gaehagesha kasakasa Telugu : Kasakasa, Gasagasla, Gasalu Urdu : Kashkash sufaid
Foreign Name of Spices
Spanish : Adermidera French : Pavot German : Mohn Swedish : Opiumvallmo Arabic : Khashkhash Dutch : Slaapbol Italian : Papavero Portuguese : Dormideira Russian : Mak Japanese : Keshi Chinese : Ying Shu