The colorful delicate poppy flower is normally used for culinary or ornamental purposes. A poppy pod is the center of the flower, left after the petals have bloomed and fallen off, and contains the flower's seeds. This pod can be removed and dried out for medicinal or decorating purposes. Important: Note that extracting the contents of certain poppies to get raw morphine is illegal in the U.S. and in many other countries.
Oriental Poppy Pods
Oriental poppy pods (Papaver orientale) are one of the most well-known poppy varieties because they are very attractive and large. The lining is a silky dark red color. They are usually used in crafts, floral arrangements and decor for their durability and beauty.
California Poppy Pods
California poppy pods (Eschscholzia californica) are smaller than the Oriental, about 2 inches in diameter. These pods are used in several ways medicinally, usually boiled or crushed as a diuretic or sedative.
Opium Poppy Pods
Probably the most famous because of the name, opium poppy pods (Papaver somniferum) are commonly used to produce the drug opium. To do this, the pods are sliced open while ripe to drain, then dried and boiled to be ground up for opium tea. This variety of poppies are primarily used to create morphine, codeine and heroin. The seeds can be used in baking, but may only be grown in the U.S. under permit or license.
Corn Poppy Pods
Corn poppy pods (Papaver rhoeas) are a size averaging between Oriental and California pods and contain small traces of opium. These used to be the main source of opium until the opium poppy was discovered to have a higher concentration. The corn poppy is also known as the red poppy or the Flanders poppy.