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Opium Poppy

French School1820

Oak Spring Garden Foundation

Oak Spring Garden Foundation

This watercolor of Papaver somniferum, or opium poppy, subtitled “Poppy of the gardens,” was produced by an unnamed French artist circa 1820. The artist emphasizes the plant’s large seed pod, providing a longitudinal cut-away to show the poppy’s seeds. Native to Africa and the Middle East, the latex of the opium poppy was widely distributed in Europe in the nineteenth century to treat cholera and a multitude of other illnesses. Unregulated distribution of the plant from India in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries led to the the First and Second Opium Wars between China, the British Empire and France in the late 1830s.

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  • Title: Opium Poppy
  • Creator: French School
  • Date Created: 1820


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