The fresh petals of Papaver Rhoeas, Linné.
COMMON NAMES AND SYNONYM: Corn poppy, Corn rose; Flores rhoeados.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 19.
Botanical Source.—This is an annual, herbaceous plant, growing to a height of about 2 feet, beset with diverging hairs, and having deeply 5-cleft leaves, the segments being cut-toothed and lance-shaped. The flowers are red and showy. The capsules are truncate at the top, smooth, short, obovate in shape and contain many, very small, blackish seeds.
History and Description.—The red poppy grows in Europe, North Africa, and western half of Asia, thriving in grain fields. The petals are the parts employed, being used in the preparation of syrup of red poppy. They are 2 or more inches in width, roundish, and in 2 pairs, one of which is always larger than the other, a rich-scarlet in color, and, when dry, becoming purplish. They are thin, marked near their base with a deeper-colored spot, and are attached by a short claw. When dried the heavy, rather narcotic odor is dissipated. They are feebly bitter and mucilaginous to the taste.
Chemical Composition.—Red-poppy petals contain dark-red, amorphous rhoeadic acid, which is dissolved by water and alcohol, but not by ether, dissolving with violet color in alkaline liquids; and bright-red, deliquescent papaveric acid, soluble in water and diluted alcohol, insoluble in strong alcohol and ether. With alkalies, the latter acid likewise produces a violet solution (L. Meier, 1846). The alkaloid, rhoeadine, was found in the fresh petals by Hesse, in 1865 (see Opium). One kilo of old and dry petals yielded Hesse no alkaloid whatever (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1890, p. 179), while the expressed juice of 300 grammes of fresh petals yielded a small quantity of crystallized alkaloid, not morphine, and containing but little rhoeadine.
Uses.—Used in preparing syrup of red poppy.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.