Ask Ella: The Enduring Appeal of Poppies
Poppies are one of the most universally-beloved flowers on the planet. As a staple in many of our favorite GC bouquets, poppies continue to transfix both our staff and the flower-lovers around us, as we’ve come to appreciate the enduring appeal that poppies have and have had for generations.
As with most mythically-beautiful things, poppies hold several secrets. Chlorophyll-rich pods shroud the petals before they bloom– when in season, the flowers emerge with the slow elegance of a butterfly shedding it’s cocoon. Physicians in eighth-century China commonly believed that the poppy plant was of divine origin, in part because of the pharmacological applications that could be derived from the genus: specifically, opium. The original poppy plant was cultivated in the ancient civilizations of Persia, Egypt, and Mesopotamia; the first known reference to the plant dates to around 4,000 BC, wherein the poppy was referred to in a Sumarian text as hul gil, or “plant of joy”.
In the course of the next several centuries, poppies spread across the Mediterranean and into Europe, where it persists as one of the most revered flowers in modern cultivation. Today, the poppy is the official flower of the state of California, and while their blooming window is short, it is often magnificent and always worth the wait.
To prolong the life of cut poppies, cut the stem on the diagonal and burn the end of the stem until it blackens. Alternatively, you can dip the cut stems in boiling water for several minutes before placing the flowers in a vase with fresh, room-temperature water. Then, simply add to your bouquet and enjoy!