'After Midnight' Poppy
Origin: Philomath, Oregon
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~100
Germination tested 11/2023: 95%
Life cycle: Annual
If you're looking for a strikingly dark flower to grace your garden, look no further! This lovely poppy bred by Frank Morton and Wild Garden Seeds is gorgeous and tasty too! As Frank puts it, "Four petals in the deepest darkest midnight violet." He also notes that the pods do not open pores, so the chocolate brown seeds are retained for harvest.
Poppy seeds are not only edible, used in treats both savory and sweet, but they 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!
This variety carries the Open Source Seed Initiative Pledge: “You have the freedom to use these OSSI- Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this Pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.”