THE SCIENCE BEHIND HOW THE POPPY BECAME THE UNOFFICIAL FLOWER OF MEMORIAL DAY

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Flowers are used for various different life events, happy or sad. This is how the poppy flower became known as the symbolism for remembrance and the answer has to do with both biology and history!

Papaver rhoeas, the common/corn poppy is able to lay hidden from the sun under the soil, dormant for up to eight decades.  Once the seeds surface and are exposed to sunlight they bud and flower.

During World War I the fighting zones caused so much devastation, the landscape was now a wasteland of smashed up wood and mud. The devastation to the land unveiled hidden poppy seeds exposing them to light.  In turn, the devastation led to blossoms covering the expanse of the battlefields.

The vision of poppy flowers inspired Canadian officer Col. John McCrae to write his very famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

 

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row”

McCrae then became very intrigued with the poppy flower, which can lay dormant for many years and its ability to grow in great numbers.

Today poppies are worn as a symbol to remember those who lost their lives in war. Millions of poppies will be given out over Memorial Day!

 

Source:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-poppy-came-symbolize-world-war-i-180960836/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/15492228

https://www.veteranstodayarchives.com/2007/05/09/why-the-red-poppy-holds-valuable-symbolism-for-war-veterans/

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