Note on Opium Culture.
By GEORGE W. KENNEDY, of Pottsville, Pa.
The author, in a letter to the editor, informs that he procured poppy seed from abroad, and supplied it to a friend in Illinois, with the view of trying an experiment in opium culture. The seed were planted in rows two and a-half feet apart, in well manured, rather dry soil, and in moist soil. The seed sown in the wet soil failed. The plants received good garden culture, and attained a height of three feet. After the petals had fallen and the capsule attained some size, horizontal incisions were made around the capsules in the afternoon, and the exudation removed in the morning and dried in the sun. Some of the capsules failed to yield any juice, owing to the wound being too deep, and the juice passing into the cavity of the capsule. The yield of opium was small, many of the plants being imperfect. Mr. Kennedy made a partial examination of it and detected meconic acid, and when treated by Mohr's process, with subsequent crystallization of the precipitate from alcohol, yielded 8.75 per cent. of morphia crystals, which gave the proper reactions with nitric acid and chloride of iron.
Mr. Kennedy hopes to make a more successful experiment next year.