chapter  Chapter 2
22 Pages

Botanical Studies

WithL. D. Kapoor

Stermitz, Frank R. observed that a standard botanical reference for the genus Papaver is that of Fedde who recognized 99 species which were divided into nine sections–Argemonorhoeades, Carinatae, Horrida, Mecones, Miltantha, Orthorhoeades, Oxytona, Pilosa, and Scapiflora. Various races of opium poppy are grown in India but no comprehensive classification has been so far evolved. They vary in size and shape of plants, leaves, petals, capsules, and in drug-yielding capacity. Since cross-pollination is common, a crop of opium poppy contains a wide range of forms composed of hybrids. The races of opium poppy cultivated in Rajasthna and Madhya Pradesh differ from that of Uttar Pradesh in some characteristics. In general, the poppy in these regions has a straight stalk, simpler stem, sharply toothed leaves of much thinner texture, usually red- or purple-colored flowers with fringed petals and large-sized oblong or ovate-oblong capsules with broad stigmatic rays at the top.