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HomeNewsHobart flower grower illegally grows opium poppies by accident

Hobart flower grower illegally grows opium poppies by accident

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A flower grower in Tasmania has been shocked by the discovery her gorgeous pink poppies – intended to be sold for weddings – are actually poppies grown under tight restrictions to make opioids.

Kate Dixon, who runs a commercial flower farm on the outskirts of Hobart, said the state’s environment department contacted her after seeing photos of the poppies on her Instagram.

“They were a bit concerned that the poppies I am growing are restricted and either related or closely related to Papaver somniferum, which is the poppy that is grown for opioids,” Ms Dixon said in a video on Instagram.

Testing by the department confirmed the two varieties of poppies being grown were Papaver somniferum, as suspected, and Papaver bracteatum, which is also restricted. These varieties are grown for alkaloid production.

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Ms Dixon said she bought the seeds from a registered Australian supplier and had “no idea” there would be an issue growing them.

She thought they were Papaver paeoniflorum aka Poppy Pink Frills and Papaver orientale aka Poppy Oriental Coral.

Authorities tore up all the plants this week, leaving behind only pink petals scattered across the brown dirt.

While she doesn’t believe the seed supplier knowingly sold her restricted poppy seeds, Ms Dixon fears other growers might find themselves in a similar situation.

“I’ve seen a lot of these poppies in backyards, and they’re a cottage garden favourite,” she told ABC.

“It’s a very, very tightly restricted crop. And yeah, in the wrong hands with the wrong intention, that’d be really dangerous.”

The department did not take further action against Ms Dixon.

“Where prohibited poppies have been found in a garden setting, in the first instance our preferred approach is generally education, awareness, and to engage with the owner,” a spokesperson said in a statement to ABC.

News.com.au has contacted Ms Dixon and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment for further comment.

Story Credit: news.com.au

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