Red Poppy.

Botanical name: 

Papaver erraticum.

Also see: The White Poppy. - Black Poppy. - Red Poppy.

A common wild plant in our corn fields, distinguished by its great scarlet flowers. It is a foot high. The stalk is round, slender, hairy, of a pale green, and branched. The leaves are long and narrow, of a dusky green, hairy, and very deeply, but very regularly indented. The flowers are very large, and of an extremely bright and fine scarlet colour, a little blackish toward the bottom. The head is small, not larger than a horse bean, and the seeds are small, and of a dark colour. The whole plant is full of a bitter yellowish juice, which runs out when it is anywhere broken, and has something of the smell of opium.

The flowers are used. A syrup is made from them by pouring as much boiling water on them as will just wet them, and after a night's standing, straining it off and adding twice its weight of sugar: this is the famous syrup of red poppies. It gently promotes sleep. It is a much weaker medicine than the diacodium. It is greatly recommended in pleurisies and fevers; but this upon no good foundation. It is very wrong to depend upon such medicines: it prevents having recourse to better.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.