Poppies were once wildflowers of Europe, Asia, North America and the Mediterranean. There are over 100 species and hundreds of hybrids. Cultivated since ancient times they are surrounded in superstition and legend. Greeks associated the opium poppy with the god Hypnos, ruler of sleep. His son, Morpheus, is the source of the name morphine, a valuable pain-relieving extract of this poppy. Poppy seeds and flowers are often used in herbal medicines to aid sleep.
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