Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poppies! Poppies!

Last year, during my second visit to Tasmania, I saw slowly wilting fields of poppies.

And not the lovely orange ones you see in Monet paintings.

No, these were, I was informed, opium poppies. Apparently, Tasmania is the world largest producer of opium poppies. For the pharmaceutical market. 50% of the worlds market of opium poppies, in fact. That's a lot for an island state.

This year, I was determined to get photos of them.

And yes, it is very illegal to go into these fields. No I did not go into this field. I stood on the road, in the ditch, after making sure there were no snakes.

Not that I'm up on Tasmanian law, but they have somewhat intimidating signs at intervals around the fields.

Click to see a larger version. It reads: Trespassers Prosecuted, and below that, Illegal use of crop may cause DEATH.

I've only heard one story from the in-laws about some guy they found on the side of the road near their house who had fallen off his scooter or something, high as a kite, blue lips, looking dead. Turned out that he had a back pack full of poppy seeds and had been drinking a tea he made with them. Or something along those lines.

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