Cicely Mary Barker's Poppy Flower Fairy

The green wheat's a-growing, 
The lark sings on high; 
In scarlet silk a-glowing, 
Here stand I.

The wheat's turning yellow, 
Ripening for sheaves; 
I hear the little fellow
Who scares the bird-thieves.

Now the harvest's ended, 
The wheat-field is bare; 
But still, red and splendid, 
I am there.

   Poppy (Papaver) 

The large showy flowers of this annual have white, pink, red or purple petals.  Native to southwest Asia, Africa, and eastern United States, they bloom in early summer. Poppies prefer little or no shade and deep, moist well-drained soil.  Seeds may be sowed in spring or autumn although many varieties are self-seeding.

In 1803, a German pharmacist isolated the first plant alkaloid from the poppy and produced morphine.  The alkaloids are used in modern medicine for their narcotic, analgesic, sedative, anti-spasmodic and cough-suppressant properties.

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