The history of the poppy

This article is also available in: Italiano

Poppy is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most extraordinary flowers that humanity has experience, capable of representing, with all its fibers, different aspects of human life.

Poppy, flower of perdition and sleep

Poppies have been cultivated in Mesopotamia since 5000 ° as ornamental plants, a tradition then passed to the Greeks and Egyptians, so much so that Tutankhamun himself was also buried with the seeds of these plants. The plural is a must, as there are several poppy species with a great impact in history, among which it is impossible not to mention the Papaver Somniferum, known since the dawn of time for its great soothing and psychotropic properties.

Afghanistan is still among the largest opium producers today, fueling a black market that brings many problems to the local population.

By cutting its immature capsules, in fact, opium is obtained, a powerful drug with psychotropic effects capable of upsetting any global balance. It celebrates the wars fought between the British Empire and the Qing for its regulation, however, this substance immediately gained an important role in medicine, so much so that it was even mentioned by Greek and Arab authors because of its great powers analgesics. Because of the latter, the poppy soon became one of the most interesting elements of many kitchens (including the Italian one), so much so that it often took the place of the popular sesame seeds.

The symbolism of the poppy

Because of its colors and its spontaneity, this kind of flowers has been distinguished since the dawn of time as one of the most iconic and particular, being associated with different areas based on the peoples with which it came into contact. Thanks to its spring and mostly rural flowering, it has become famous as “the flower of the fallen”, a tradition glorified by Fabrizio De André with his “La guerra di Piero” and by the Remebrance Poppy in the Anglo-Saxon countries. It seems, however, that the first to adopt him for this kind of situation was Genghis Khan who, according to the myth, at the end of the clashes, scattered poppy seeds on every battlefield to honor the fallen.


In Urdu literature, on the other hand, it symbolizes love and martyrdom, in the Persian one eternal love. An incredible flower, able to amaze with its smallest fiber.

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