Poppyseed oil (also poppy seed oil or poppy oil) is oil extracted
from the seeds of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum).
The whole seeds of the poppy plant are edible and non-toxic, and
have been used for various culinary purposes (particularly baking)
since ancient times. Similarly, poppyseed oil has no narcotic properties
and is sometimes used as a cooking oil; it is also used for moisturizing
skin. Its primary use, however, is in the manufacture of paints,
varnishes, and soaps.
In oil painting, linseed oil remains the most popular oil for binding
pigment, thinning paint, and varnishing finished paintings. Walnut
oil and poppyseed oil are also favored by oil painters, though each
of the three oils is used for a different purpose. While poppyseed
oil does not leave the unwanted yellow tint for which linseed oil
is known, it is much weaker in the test of time than the contemporary
Because poppyseed oil dries much more slowly (5-7 days) than linseed
oil (3-5 days), "fat over lean" rules apply, poppyseed
oil falling on the "fat" side. Poppyseed oil should never
be used for a ground layer of a painting, and one should avoid painting
linseed oil over a layer of poppyseed oil; this will likely cause
cracks and peeling as the upper layer dries first, making the "lean"
layer vulnerable to contraction when the "fat" layer dries