Poppy Flower Meaning 2017-03-21T23:10:59+00:00

The Poppy Flower: Its Meaning & Symbolism

Poppy Flower

Few flowers played such an important role in religion, mythology, politics, and medicine as the Poppy. Often found growing along roadside ditches and other humble places, these flowers have enchanted poets and helped doctors treat their patients for centuries. Besides the medicinal and edible qualities of the Poppy, the flower symbolizes some very deep emotions.

What Does the Poppy Flower Mean?

For many cultures, the Poppy is a symbol of:

  • Restful sleep and recovery
  • Consolation for a loss or death in the family
  • Remembering the fallen of various wars and armed conflicts
  • A lively imagination
  • Peace in death
  • Messages delivered in dreams
  • Resurrection and eternal life
  • Beauty and success
  • Extravagance and luxury

The symbolism of the Poppy varies greatly from country to country, but most of them share at least one or two common meanings for this particular flower.

Etymological Meaning of the Poppy Flower

All of the common Poppies used for landscaping, grown for edible seeds, or used for medicine share the common name of Papaver. This name is based on the Latin word for milk, pappa, due to the white and opaque latex sap that drips out when the stem or seed pod is cut. Some of the most widely used grown types of Poppies include the Papaver somniferum, the Papaver orientale, and the Eschscholzia californica.

Symbolism of the Poppy Flower

The Poppy is one of the most widely used symbolic flower around the world. Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman societies linked it with sleep due the sedative effect of the plant’s sap. The Greeks in particular tied it to sleep because of Morpheus, the God of sleep. The Victorians gave the flower a variety of meanings based on the color, including consolation for loss, deep sleep, and extravagance. Chinese and Japanese flower experts recommend the Poppy for couples because it means a deep and passionate love between two people, but white Poppies are tied to death in those cultures too. Other colors represent success and beauty in Eastern cultures. The red Poppy is the traditional flower of remembrance for Europe and North America because of its ties to World War I and II. Some people simply think it is a cheery sign of summer because of its size and intense colors.

Poppy Flower Color Meanings

The color meaning of a Poppy varies greatly. Some common connections include:

  • Red – Linked to death, remembrance, and consolation in the West. Symbolizes success and love in the East.
  • White – Used for funerals and memorials in the East, sleep and peaceful rest in the West.
  • Purple, Pink, Blue – Tied to imagination, luxury, and success.

Poppy Flower

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Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Poppy Flower

The Papaver somniferum is the Poppy used to produce morphine, codeine, opium, and other drugs that played a crucial role in the development of modern medicine. Of course, demand for Poppy products has also fueled many political moves and armed conflicts. Other types of Poppies are used for tea or produce plenty of tiny black seeds used for seasoning breads and other foods. The oil pressed from those seeds is also good for cooking and cosmetics. Some Poppies grow in tough conditions too, making them a useful decorative plant.

Special Occasions for the Poppy Flowers

Since the flowers are large, cup-shaped, and colorful, Poppy bouquets and sprays look impressive. Give the gift of the Poppy for occasions like:

  • Funerals and memorial services, especially for soldiers that pass away while serving or veterans
  • Encouraging better sleep in friends and family members experiencing insomnia
  • Making an offering to the dead by leaving the flowers on graves or tombs
  • Sending a sign of your love to a spouse or romantic interest
  • Setting up a luxurious atmosphere for a specific event

The Poppy Flower’s Message is…

Remember those who have passed away to protect you and all that you love. Develop your own sense of inner peace so you can rest at night and get all the sleep you need. Honor the dead and cultivate your imagination for a richer life.

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Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower


  1. Mary May 28, 2016 at 12:15 am - Reply

    I remember when I was little that the VFW use to past small poppy
    Flowers (not real). I always looked forward to Memorial Day to get these flowers. Now I’m much, much older and I always wonder why these poppy flowers no longer are passed out. Such a sad thing since we have so many soldiers fighting for our freedom.
    God Bless all the soldiers and their families.

    • Jessica Foster June 10, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      I recurved one today at Walmart. Its great

  2. Kathie Lumberg May 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    The VFW still passes them out on the square in Woodstock, Georgia on Memorial Day.

    • Letitia June 19, 2016 at 6:45 am - Reply

      Apnterpaly this is what the esteemed Willis was talkin’ ’bout.

  3. Selwyn Jean-Baptiste November 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    What is the history of the Black Poppy or is it confused with the Purple or Dark Blue Poppy??

  4. Moosh November 10, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply


  5. Eva Walker November 11, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Leonard Cohen died today, and out bloomed a flawless white poppy, standing alone and beautiful. The only one in the garden. A sign of peace as it is also Armistice day. Halleluiah

    • De Sledge November 14, 2016 at 12:39 am - Reply

      Your comment gave me chills, so beautiful. Rest In Peace Leonard Cohen and now another great pianist, songwriter and singer, Leo Russell.

  6. cindy November 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    come to Canada… Remembrance Day and the week before and after… poppies all over.

  7. Aldea November 10, 2017 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Remembrance Day is very important and its very sad how people neglect it, and overlook it. Think of all the soldiers, who died to give us freedom…and people don’t even appreciate it!

    On the 11th minute, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we will remember.

    Two minutes is all I ask for this.

  8. Bill Teague February 5, 2018 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    will poppy flowers grow in Oklahoma soil

    • ANNETTE March 13, 2018 at 7:35 am - Reply

      I left you a message regarding growing poppies. Hope it helps.

      Northern Gardener

  9. ANNETTE March 13, 2018 at 7:34 am - Reply

    This comment is for Bill. I live in Canada’s Northwest Territories where wild poppies begin to grow up from the ground in late May. By mid June my yard is teeming with orange, yellow and white arctic poppies. Every spring I can’t wait to view the green leaves raising themselves in the morning sun. As the red poppies are not perennial here, I simply drop my seeds all over the ground in the fall and allow winter to cloak them in a blanket of snow. The seeds germinate much later in the summer than the perennial ones.

    The red poppies even grow in the clay which lies under the gravel on the driveway. Not knowing what type of soil you have in Oklahoma, I have no doubt that poppy seeds will grow there. Go online and buy some seeds and good luck to you. Your Northern Gardener.

  10. Margaux Ford March 20, 2018 at 6:37 am - Reply

    You make a good point in explaining the meaning of white poppy flower as sleep and peaceful rest for funerals. My friend’s dad has recently passed away, and I’m considering on giving flowers for the funeral service. It’s good to know that poppy flowers are also significant for funerals and memorial services, especially for soldiers that pass away while serving or veterans. Thanks for the tips!

  11. Dalida April 20, 2018 at 11:13 am - Reply

    It’s amazing to know about the poppy flower especially the red and black ,it’s very popular in Lebanon mountains lest we forget

  12. Becky Safe May 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Wow, this info on the poppy is so interesting and exciting…at least for me!
    I was at a local dept store and saw a comforter w bright red & orange poppies and just fell in love with it. Wanted the K size; couldn’t find even online! God blessed me w this $69.99 comforter for FREE one day (points n free cash; not theft). Perfect match for my room decor; wondering what He’s gotnin store for me now!!! Praise the Lord

  13. […] The Poppy […]

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