The beautiful delicate and papery poppy is a popular choice in European countries, used in bridal bouquets and arrangements. They are symbolic flower for many reasons and have a strong and historic association with wars and memorials, particularly red coloured poppies.
The true poppy genus is Papaver, but many flowers of related genera are also called poppies. The most frequently cultivated are the Oriental , usually bearing a large scarlet flower with a purplish black base, and the corn poppy the Shirley poppy. Other well-known species include the arctic Iceland poppy, the celandine poppy of North America, and California poppy (which is the state flower of California).
The Old World greater celandine, also called swallowwart or wartweed, was formerly believed effective in removing warts and restoring failing eyesight. The orange-red sap of wild poppies grown in North America was used by Native Americans as a dye and skin stain. This and many other members of the family are employed for various medicinal purposes.
Economically, the most important plant in the family is the opium poppy, now widely cultivated from Europe to East Asia. The milky sap of its unripe seed pods is the source of opium and several other similar drugs, e.g., morphine, codeine, and heroin. Poppyseed, also called maw seed, is not narcotic; used as birdseed and for a flavoring or garnish in baking, it is also ground for flour. Poppy oil, derived from the seeds, is employed in cooking and illumination and in paints, varnishes, and soaps.
The poppy has been the symbol of the dead and of sleep since antiquity. The poppies of “Flanders fields” are celebrated in a poem by John McCrae and are the Memorial Day or Armistice Day (Veterans’ Day in the United States) emblem of World War veterans.
The Red Poppy has special significance for Australians. Worn on Remembrance Day (11 November) each year, the red poppies were among the first to flower in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium in the First World War. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.
The perfect stage to pick Poppies is when the buds are mostly fully formed but slightly cracked to ensure longer shelf and vase life
- Mixed colour poppies combined with varied native foliage and feathery textures can compliment a bridal palette beautifully. We love the vivid colours used in the bouquet below with a darker tone of the bridesmaid dress picked up with the tangerine poppies.
2. The beautiful blustery pastel poppies below look beautiful in this arm held cascading bridal bouquet below (image via greenweddingshoes.com).
3. Poppy and Anemone bouquets add a modern vibrancy when kept in tonal or straight colour ways (image via elizabethanndesign).
4. Such a striking centrepieces mixing up a gold palette with the warmth of citrus toned poppies. (Image via Nouba.com.au)
- To ensure the longest vase life (6-7days!) from your Icelandic Poppies you must sear the stem ends
- Flame or dip (in boiling water) the bottom 2″ of the stems for 7-10 seconds or until you notice them changing color and consistency.
- Place them immediately into fresh water.
- Change water daily and keep poppies away from direct sunlight and in cooler part of the house.