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Elka, the Crone poppyPapaver somniferum var. Glabrum
Elka/Crone Poppy
I found seeds for this variety of white-seeded poppy last year and was so intrigued by the story connected with them that I had to grow them out. It seems that in a mountainous area of Slovakia, people were unable to grow any nut trees to produce oil, so they developed this white-seeded poppy for that purpose. Eventually, when they had more trade with the outside world, they switched to using walnut oil and gave up growing this poppy--all but one Crone named Elka living up on a hill. This poppy seed was saved and named for her. As you can see, it's a beauty, and it does indeed produce a nice amount of seeds. This classic Moon poppy has been grown for thousands of years, and was the standard poppy grown in European witches' gardens. Its capsules are smooth ("glabrous" = glabrum), of good size, and in this variety, might have openings and might not. The flowers are the palest pinkish white or lavender white, although violet-flowered plants are a variant that will appear as a minority; there is great genetic diversity with this plant. The seeds of this type are white to orange-brown. They are smaller and finer than those of the black-seeded variety, and instead of being used as a sprinkle on breads, were pressed for oil in Europe and favored in India as a flavoring and thickener for soups and sauces. All somniferums are good for Moon work, especially dreams, but this variety is especially powerful for Moon because of its white color, its antiquity, and its true Crone associations. Poppy is a plant sacred to Hekate, who loves her crones. If you want to save pure seeds from this variety, don't grow other poppies that year. I hope I will have more of these seeds this fall. In Ayurveda, seeds of this plant are an ingredient in a bedtime chutney, which could be quite handy for dreamwork. Info on poppies, including how to grow them.  Top

Bedtime Chutney

This chutney is traditionally eaten at night, less than one hour before bedtime. In Ayurveda, it is considered balancing to Pitta and Vata. It pacifies Vata, especially Prana Vata (the mind), and it pacifies Sadhaka Pitta, Pitta of the heart and mind. These affect good quality sleep. This is a good chutney for dreamwork.

1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
1 teaspoon coconut powder (fresh grated is best)
Pinches of ground cumin and turmeric
Small amount of ghee (clarified butter)

Mix white poppy seeds with coconut powder. Add small amounts of water while mixing to form a thick paste. Melt ghee in a frying pan until it becomes clear (cloudiness is gone). This clarity shows that the ghee is at the best temperature to cook the other ingredients. Add turmeric and cumin and mix well.  Remove from heat immediately and let the spices simmer off the burner until color and aroma change, then add the spiced ghee to the poppy seed mixture. Stir well and let stand 5 minutes. Add a little salt to taste. Put on a little rice or some crackers. Top


P. somniferum var. glabrum
Elka/Crone poppy
100 seeds $3.50


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2010, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission