election posters which blossom across our fair land every time there is an election or referendum. That magnificent stand of flowers have now withered on the stems and the seed-heads have swelled. Yesterday I was out harvesting [Above, showing stages] for poppy-seed buns. Eventually the seed-head develops a ring of holes around the top and the black seeds within get shaken out and dispersed if there is a strong enough wind. Obviously, poppies propagate more widely if the seeds disperse further. The seeds develop earlier than their container and you can, as shown above, cut off a seed-head, top it like a boiled egg and shake out the seeds into a jar. The seeds are tiny and look like little beans rather than being round. The interweb reports that a human embryo is the size of a poppyseed = 1mm at four weeks of age. It is amazing how both humans and poppies grow to such a size from such small beginnings.
Apparently this year is going to be a bumper crop for the poppy farmers of Afgho. Like any biotech firm, the Taliban have been doing some breeding and selection and produced a poppy that yields 2x the amount of raw opium to the hectare. Farmers in Helmand province have about as much choice in the matter of sourcing the seed as they would have if they were in thrall to Monsanto.