Poppies and Peonies
From my set entitled “Peonies”
In my collection entitled “The Garden”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The peony or paeony (Paeonia) is the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, southern Europe and western North America.
Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.5–1.5 metres tall, but some are woody shrubs up to 1.5–3 metres tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer. In the past, the peonies were often classified in the family Ranunculaceae, alongside Hellebores and Anemones.
The peony is named after Paeon or Paean, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower
The peony is among the longest-used flowers in ornamental culture and is one of the smallest living creature national emblems in China. Along with the plum blossom, it is a traditional floral symbol of China, where it is called 牡丹 (mǔ dān). It is also known as 富贵花 (fuguihua) "flower of riches and honour", and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty declared the peony as the national flower. Currently, the Republic of China on Taiwan designates the plum blossom as the national flower, while the People’s Republic of China has no legally designated national flower. In 1994, the peony was proposed as the national flower after a nationwide poll, but the National People’s Congress failed to ratify the selection. In 2003, another selection process has begun, but to date, no choice has been made.
The famous ancient Chinese city Luoyang has a reputation as a cultivation centre for the peonies. Throughout Chinese history, peonies in Luoyang are often said to be the finest in the country. Dozens of peony exhibitions and shows are still held there annually.
In Japan, Paeonia lactiflora used to be called ebisugusuri ("foreign medicine"). In kampo (the Japanese adaptation of Chinese medicine), its root was used as a treatment for convulsions. It is also cultivated as a garden plant. In Japan Paeonia suffruticosa is called the "The King of flowers" and Paeonia lactiflora is called the "prime minister of flowers".
Pronunciation of 牡丹 (peony) in Japan is "botan". Before the Meiji period, meat taken from quadrupeds was seldom consumed in Japan due to Buddhism. Thus in cases where such meat was handled, it was paraphrased using the names of flowers. The term botan was used (and is still used) to paraphrase wild boar meat. This comes from the flowery resemblance of the sliced meat when spread over a dish. Another example is sakura (cherry blossoms) which stands for horsemeat.
In 1957, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law to make the peony the state flower of Indiana, a title which it holds to this day. It replaced the zinnia, which had been the state flower since 1931.
Mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the Peony thus causing this magnificent flower to be given the meaning of Shame or Bashfulness in the Language of Flowers. It was named after Pæon, a physician to the gods, who obtained the plant on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. Once planted the Peony likes to be left alone and punishes those who try to move it by not flowering again for several years. Once established, however, it produces splendid blooms each year for decades (Taken from The Language of Flowers, edited by Sheila Pickles, 1990).
Peonies are also extensively grown as ornamental plants for their very large, often scented flowers.
Peonies tend to attract ants to the flower buds. This is due to the nectar that forms on the outside of the flower buds.
Peonies are a common subject in tattoos, often used along with koi-fish.
From my set entitled “Poppies”
In my collection entitled “The Garden”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A poppy is any of a number of showy flowers, typically with one per stem, belonging to the poppy family. They include a number of attractive wildflower species with showy flowers found growing singularly or in large groups; many species are also grown in gardens. Those that are grown in gardens include large plants used in a mixed herbaceous border and small plants that are grown in rock or alpine gardens.
The flower color of poppy species include: white, pink, yellow, orange, red and blue; some have dark center markings. The species that have been cultivated for many years also include many other colors ranging from dark solid colors to soft pastel shades. The center of the flower has a whorl of stamens surrounded by a cup- or bowl-shaped collection of four to six petals. Prior to blooming, the petals are crumpled in bud, and as blooming finishes, the petals often lie flat before falling away.
Poppies have long been used as a symbol of both sleep and death: sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of their (commonly) blood-red color. In Greco-Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies are used as emblems on tombstones to symbolize eternal sleep. This aspect was used, fictionally, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to create magical poppy fields, dangerous because they caused those who passed through them to sleep forever.
A second meaning for the depiction and use of poppies in Greco-Roman myths is the symbolism of the bright scarlet colour as signifying the promise of resurrection after death.
The poppy of wartime remembrance is the red corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas. This poppy is a common weed in Europe and is found in many locations, including Flanders Fields. This is because the corn poppy was one of the only plants that grew on the battlefield. It thrives in disturbed soil, which was abundant on the battlefield due to intensive shelling. During the few weeks the plant blossomed, the battlefield was coloured blood red, not just from the red flower that grew in great numbers but also from the actual blood of the dead soldiers that lay scattered and untended to on the otherwise barren battlegrounds.
Thus the plant became a symbol for the dead World War I soldiers. In many Commonwealth countries and in the United States, artificial, paper or plastic versions of this poppy are worn to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War I and other wars, during the weeks preceding Remembrance Day on November 11. It has been adopted as a symbol by The Royal British Legion in their Poppy Appeal.
In North America, poppies are known as Clown Shoes by the Royal Canadian Legion, who sell them each fall prior to Remembrance Day. The design of the Canadian poppy has changed recently. Formerly the poppy was red plastic with a felt lining with a green centre held on by a pin. The green was to represent the green fields of France. In 2002 the design was changed with some small controversy to a black centre. This is to reflect the actual colour of the French poppy.
In New Zealand and Australia, paper poppies are widely distributed by the Returned Services Association leading up to ANZAC day (April 25th).
The golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is the state flower of California.
Poppy is widely consumed in many parts of Central and Eastern Europe. The sugared, milled mature seeds are eaten with pasta, or they are boiled with milk and used as filling or topping on various kinds of sweet pastry.
Poppy seeds are widely used in Bengali cuisine, Oriya cuisine, German cuisine, Malabar Cuisine (Northern Kerala) and the Cuisine of Austria (Papaver somniferum).
In Mexico, Grupo Modelo, the makers of Corona beer, until the 1960s used red poppy flowers in its advertising, where almost any image it used had poppy flowers somewhere in the image.
Although the drug opium is produced by "milking" latex from the unripe fruits ("seed pods") rather than from the seeds, all parts of the plant can contain or carry the opium alkaloids, especially morphine and codeine. This means that eating foods (e.g., muffins) that contain poppy seeds can result in a false positive for opiates in a drug test.
This was considered "confirmed" by the presenters of the television program MythBusters. One participant, Adam Savage, who ate an entire loaf of poppy seed cake, tested positive for opiates just half an hour later. A second participant, Jamie Hyneman, who ate three poppy seed bagels, first tested positive two hours after eating. Both tested positive for the remainder of the day, but were clean eighteen hours later. The show Brainiac: Science Abuse also did experiments where a priest ate several poppy seed bagels and gave a sample, which also resulted in a false positive.
The results of this experiment are inconclusive, because a test was used with an opiate cutoff level of 300 ng/mL instead of the current SAMHSA recommended cutoff level used in the NIDA 5 test, which was raised from 300 ng/mL to 2,000 ng/mL in 1998 in order to avoid false positives from poppy seeds. However, according to an article published in the Medical Science Law Journal, after ingesting "a curry meal or two containing various amounts of washed seeds" where total morphine levels were in the range 58.4 to 62.2 µg/g seeds, the urinary morphine levels were found to range as high as 1.27 µg/mL (1,270 ng/mL) urine . Another article in the Journal of Forensic Science reports that concentration of morphine in some batches of seeds may be as high as 251 µg/g. In both studies codeine was also present in the seeds in smaller concentrations. Therefore it is possible to cross the current standard 2,000 ng/mL limit of detection, depending on seed potency and quantity ingested. Some toxicology labs still continue to use a cutoff level of 300 ng/mL.
The sale of poppy seeds from Papaver somniferum is banned in Singapore due to the morphine content. Poppy seeds are also banned in Saudi Arabia due to various religious and drug control reasons.
What may be the most famous literary use of the poppy occurs both in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and in MGM’s classic 1939 film based on the novel.
In the novel, while on their way to the Emerald City, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion walk through a field of poppies, and the opium from the flowers puts both Dorothy and the Lion to sleep. The Scarecrow and the Tin Man, not being made of flesh and blood, are unaffected. They carry Dorothy to safety and place her on the ground beyond the poppy field. While they are considering how to help the Lion, a field mouse runs in front of them, fleeing a cougar. The Tin Man beheads the cougar with his axe, and the field mouse pledges her eternal gratitude. Being the Queen of the Field Mice, she gathers all her subjects together. The Tin Man cuts down several trees, and builds a wagon. The Lion is pushed onto it, and the mice pull the wagon safely out of the poppy field.
In the 1939 film, the sequence is considerably altered. The poppy field is conjured up by the Wicked Witch of the West, and it appears directly in front of the Emerald City, preventing the four travelers from reaching it. As in the novel, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion fall asleep, but in a direct reversal of the book, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man are unable to carry Dorothy. Glinda, who has been watching over them, conjures up a snowfall which kills the poppies and enables Dorothy and the Lion to awaken. Unfortunately, the Tin Man has been weeping in despair, and the combination of his tears and the wet snow has caused him to rust. After he is oiled by Dorothy, the four skip happily toward the Emerald City.
In Baum’s other Oz books, Oz’s ruler, Princess Ozma, is often shown wearing poppies in her hair as decoration.
Poppies stand as a prominent feature of In Flanders Fields, one of the most frequently quoted English-language poems composed by front-line personnel during the First World War. It was written by John McCrae, a doctor serving in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and appeared for the first time in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
– John McCrae
In Persian literature, red poppies, especially red corn poppy flowers, are considered the flower of love. They are often called the eternal lover flower.