Poppy Flower, Its Symbolism and Meanings
Flowers played a significant role in religion, mythology, politics, and medicine throughout the years. Few flowers have that absolute importance in human history, and one of those flowers is the Poppy Flower.
This article will introduce you to a fantastic flower that craved importance in human history- the Poppy Flower.
The origin of the name Poppy has two versions. One version state that it comes from the Latin word “pappa,” which means milk because of white and opaque latex sap dripping out of the cut stem or seed pot.
Another version is that it is derived from the Old English word “popig” translated in Latin as “papaver” meaning “to swell.”
Its Variety and Location
Poppies can be found throughout the world but were popularly cultivated in abundance in Asia. The different types of Poppy can be found in a particular place in the world, such as:
- The Opium Poppy is native to Turkey that bears pink, purple, and white flowers.
- The Oriental Poppy is native to the Middle East and in a variety of scarlet, salmon, pink, white or red bloom.
- The Shirley Poppy is colored white and red flower and white and pink, a variety of Corn Poppy.
- The Iceland Poppy is from Arctic North America with fragrant white, orange, reddish, or bi-colored flowers.
- The scarlet petals bearing a dark spot base called Peacock Poppy is from Central Asia.
- The famous California Poppy is naturalized in California, Australia, and India that has a brilliant orange color flower.
- The Matilja Poppy is a fragrant white flower native from southwestern North America.
- The Flaming Poppy has a purple-center brick red flowers native from western North America.
A poppy flower naturally has four to six flowers. It can be found in various colors with a lot of different petal markings. The pollen constitutes a different color. The Asian Poppies’ pollen yields a dark blue color while the Field Poppy has grey pollen.
Myths and Beliefs
In Greek mythology, the Poppy flower has been related to the God of Sleep, Morpheus. Morpheus lived in his world of dreams and fantasy, which he is destined to rule the realms of dreams. He was the son of the Goddess of Night and Dark Creations, Nix, and the Deific Governor of Sleep, Hypnos. This speaks of the messages of dreams like a sweet fragrance waiting to be recognized.
Another Mythological association of Poppy Flower is with Demeter. Demeter is told to drink poppies flower like a tea to sleep through her sadness and longing of her daughter, Persephone.
During the Victorian period, numerous colors of the flower attribute specific meanings. In general, it is commonly used to exhibit loss, extravagance, and deep sleep.
In Japanese and Chinese culture, the poppy flower indicates passionate love between a couple. Chinese believes that the poppy flower embodies rest, beauty, and success. However, its opiate-induced properties signal the link of this flower to sloth and dependence.
Its Cultural Significance and Meaning
- Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians correlated the Poppy Flower with sleep because of the sedative nature of its sap.
- In Ancient Greece, Poppy is a powerful manifestation of dreams, vision, and psyche. This has been depicted in the growing process of Poppy flower. The blossoming Poppy bud hangs its head through its stem. This looks so enchanting, thinking the bud is pregnant with floral dreams.
- In Europe, darker shade of Poppies is practiced to be given to newlyweds to invigorate passion and love to their marriage throughout the year while the white poppies exhibit death.
- For Christians, Poppy characterized death as a period of tranquil slumber. This has been linked to the metaphor that the red petals of Poppy personify the blood of Jesus Christ.
Its Botanical Properties
The Papaver somniferum is the signature characteristic of Poppy. It has been the gist to produce morphine, codeine, opium, and other drugs that serve as an essential discovery to set the development for modern medicine. The morphine and codeine are compounds present in Poppy flower that has remarkable healing properties. It is important to note that the opiate properties of Poppy can be abused by people who want to use it as a hallogenic drug.
Throughout history, its primary purpose is to yield opiate or drugs. However, in modern times the seeds are now being used in baking and cooking. Poppyseed oil is used for cooking and cosmetics.
Other types of Poppies are utilized for tea, and its tiny black seeds have been developed for seasoning pieces of bread and other foods.
Poppies look amazing as floral arrangements as well as part of the landscape of your garden. This is great for creating a luxurious and elegant ambiance for a special occasion.
It is an excellent add-on to your bouquet and is not so expensive compare to other flowers. This sends a message of your love and romantic interest to your partner.
Poppies are given as a gift to help minimize insomnia and encourage better sleep in friends. It is an excellent offering to the dead by leaving the flowers on graves and tombs.
Fun Facts about Poppy Flower
- The state flower of California is the California Poppy.
- The Red Poppy becomes the national flower of Albania.
- Poppies are featured in the legendary poem written by John McCrae titled Flanders Field. The poppies referred to the poem grew on the battle-ravaged fields of Flanders. The Red Poppies depicts the blood that has been sacrificed during the war for the sake of winning. Up to this day, poppies are worn by veterans on Veterans Day and Remembrance Day.
- “Poppies will make you sleep” – the famous line from the Wicked Witch of the West from the movie The Wizard of Oz. This movie introduced this seductively powerful flower.
Its Historical Importance and Meaning
During the early spring of 1915, bright red poppies are known as Flanders poppy, corn poppy, red Poppy, and corn rose began blooming through the battle-scarred land. This happened after the brutal war between Allied and Central Power soldiers. A book titled “The Book of Poppy,” authored by Chris Nab, states that the brilliantly colored flower is classified as a weed.
After the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote a poem “In Flanders Field,” which conveys the voices of fallen soldiers under those poppies flower. Michael has vowed always to wear a red poppy has a sign of remembrance for his fallen comrades.
Moina Michael wrote the poem “We Shall Keep Faith.” This poem is the response to the poem written by John McCrae during the war. This poem has been written two days before the armistice. As a sign of faith and remembrance to the fallen soldiers of Flanders Field, she initiated an idea to support and fund the veterans of war by selling silk poppies.
In-mid 1920’s, Georgia’s branch of American Legion, a veteran’s group, adopted the Poppy as its symbol. Right after that, the National American Legion voted to use the poppy flower as the official US national emblem of remembrance.
A Frenchwoman, Anna Guerin, convinced the Legion members to adopt the Poppy as their symbol and to join her by celebrating National Poppy Day in the US in May.
In France, Guerin has organized a group of women, children, and veterans to make and sell artificial poppies to support the fund needed for the restoration of war. She brought her campaign in England. In 1921, the British legion held its “Poppy Appeal” that sold millions of silk flowers and funded the housing and livelihood for Great War veterans.
In 1922, Major George Howson built the Poppy Factory in Richmond, England, where he hired disabled service members to make fabric and paper blooms.
Currently, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand adopted the use of red flowers every November 11. A day commonly celebrated as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day to commemorate the anniversary of 1918 armistice.
Americans, on the other hand, wear the symbolic red Poppy Flower on Memorial Day-. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May to commemorate the sacrifice of many people who are so much willing to die fighting for their country.
Different Types of Poppy Flower and Its Cultural Symbolism
- Pink, Purple and Blue Poppy Flower – denotes luxury, success, and imagination
- The White Poppy Flower – is traditionally used in funerals and memorial ceremonies in East Asia. It symbolizes remembrance and peaceful rest. In the West, it represents sleep and peaceful rest.
- Red Poppy Flower – is distinctive with consolation, remembrance, and death. In wartime commemorations, Red Poppy Flower stands for respect and solemnity for fallen soldiers.
Apparently, in East Asian culture, it represents love and success—a contrasting representation from the solemn Western practice.
Poppies are birthday flowers for people who are born in August.
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Blooming Poppies Jewelry
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