A family of herbs (or, rarely, shrubs) that have alternate, usually deeply lobed leaves; milky latex occurs in canals in all parts of the plants. The flowers are regular, commonly with 2 sepals that soon fall, and usually with 4 overlapping, crinkly petals. The stamens are free and numerous, the ovary superior, of 2 to many fused carpels and producing a capsule that opens by valves or pores when ripe. Many species and genera are cultivated for their brilliant flowers; Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) is the source of opium and its derivative, heroin. There are 23 genera, with 210 species, occurring mostly in northern temperate regions.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.