Opium, like the majority of all plants, interacts with many other organisms, often to the benefit of both organisms.  This beneficial relationship between both species is called mutualism, and is found in multiple instances all over nature.  Opium uses these mutualistic symbioses in multiple aspects of its lifestyle, such as fertilization and nutrient exchange.

Opium, like many other plants, utilize motile organisms to transport pollen from one Opium plant to another.  Many of the most often recognized pollinators throughout the animal kingdom are bees.  The bumble bee, or Bombini bombus, is probably most often thought of as the major pollinator of flowers, but many different types of bees often are pollinators, such as the European Honey Bee, or Apis mellifera.  Click on the hyperlink to learn more from another Biology students project.

Another common mutualistic relationship most plants have are with fungi.  The phyla Glomeromycota contains multiple species of fungi that form mycorrhizas, or symbioses that benefit both the fungi and the plant.  Mineral transfer occurs between the two organisms and happens within the cell wall of the plant within the mutualistic relationship.

So much of the previous information may be quite interesting, but some might ask "Why should I learn about opium?" To learn why opium is so important, and how it is used in today's current medical setting, proceed to the Medicinal Importance Page. 

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