- The use of opium poppies goes back to Sumer – an ancient civilization, which recorded their use in the form of images.
- Enormous poppy fields feature in both the film and book version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – a chapter in the book itself is even entitled ‘The Deadly Poppy Field’
- Major John McCrae’s poem, In Flander’s Fields, was supposedly written on the evening of the 2 May, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, in memory of his friend, Alexis Helmer
- The poppy’s use in medicine was reworked in George R.R.Martin’s Game of Thrones – where a medicine entitled ‘milk of the poppy’ is used.
- Poppies bloom from mid-June right through to October.
- Persian literature cites red corn poppies as the flower of love.
- Poppies are frequently found weeds on agricultural land, however they were welcomed as they proved the soil was fertile.
- Opium poppies are grown commercially in Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire for use in medical opiates such as morphine.
- Poppy seeds can remain active in the soil for 8 years.
- Many different garden strains exist, such as Shirley poppy, Iceland poppy, California poppy, Himalayan and Welsh.
- Poppies are featured on the back of Canadian $20 notes.
- Poppy seeds do contain opium alkaloids, meaning that if poppy seeds are ingested, in the most innocent of ways, it can give false readings during a drugs test. As a result, people travelling on planes between countries are advised not to carry poppy seeds, and in Singapore they are classified as ‘prohibited goods’.
- Average seed numbers per plant can range from 10,000 to 60,000.
- Opium poppies feature on the Royal College of Anaesthetists coat of arms.
4 June 2019
Life of a Poppy Flower
The life of the poppy flower is so short I thought I would document it in images but before that here are some interesting facts you may not know about the flower which represents so much.