Poppy plants as a family include about 800 species, while in Europe poppy is probably associated with the common, red poppy variety, typically growing in meadows and around the edges of fields. Most varieties impress with their beautiful flowers have consequently also become popular as decorative flowers for domestic gardens. The bestsellers among poppy seeds are California poppy and the varieties of Oriental poppy, just to name a few.
Even more famous among the papaveraceae is opium-, or bread seed poppy. It produces seeds, which have a lovely nutty flavour and are rich in oil. Used as consumable 'food' poppy seeds, they are popular as baking and dessert ingredient and they are delicious as a topping on bread and breakfast rolls. Famous dishes such as steamed plum dumplings (Germknödel) and poppy strudel are entirely defined by its unique taste and a replacement ingredient would be difficult to imagine.
The milk of opium poppy contains a strong count of alkaloids, which is an important chemical ingredient for producing morphine, a potent and powerful pain killer often used to treat patients suffering from tumours and cancer.