'Hungarian Breadseed' Poppy
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~200
Germination tested 12/2021: 85%
Life cycle: Annual
This beautiful Hungarian heirloom boasts large light purple flowers with darker purple splotches inside on tall, sturdy stems. It has been selected through the years to produce loads of tasty little seeds, commonly eaten on bread, on salads, or in baked desserts. The seeds also produce an edible oil much prized in certain cultures for both cooking or raw use. Additionally, as the botanical name indicates (Papaver somniferum — "poppy that brings sleep") this species is probably most well-known as the source of opium, which is the narcotic latex extracted from the unripe seed pods. It is illegal in the United States to extract opium from poppy pods — and it is even more illegal to "refine" the raw product into morphine or heroine. But while opium is a controlled substance, and by the letter of the law opium poppies and poppy straw are also illegal, opium poppy seeds are widely available from seed companies in the United States — and of course they can be found in most every supermarket across the country as a food product. We have not heard of anyone growing poppies as an ornamental or food crop running into legal trouble, but we would be remiss if we didn't explain our understanding of the legal situation regarding the cultivation of this special plant, which is as follows: As long as you do not score the seed pods to extract the latex, you should be fine — but we are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice! Poppies are easy to grow, beautiful, and delicious. With any luck, they will re-seed in your garden and you'll have them coming back for years to come. Start them early — the seedlings like it cold!
Our seed was grown by Kass McKinnon and Clint Freund in Milaca, Minnesota.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed about 1/8” deep in the early spring. Thin plants to 4-6”. Prefers 50-70°F soil temperature for germination in 10-20 days.