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Poppy seeds (Papaver Somniferum)

Small blue-black seeds of the opium poppy, classified as a spice (they can also be coloured yellow and brown, although these are rarely-found in Britain). Although used in cooking - often to 'decorate' bread - they are in fact poisonous if taken in any quantity. Good oil is made from the seeds.

The Egyptians used these seeds as a condiment and the Ancient Greeks cultivated them for Olympic athletes. In India they are popular ground as a thickening for curries.

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