Red Poppy

Red Poppy Meaning

Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

Another name for the red poppy is Flanders poppy, this is because of what the flower symbolize during after World War I.

It is said that the fields of Flanders located in Western Belgium was covered with red poppies after World War I. Since the fields of Flanders is where the bloodiest battles happen in WWI, many believed that the bright red blood-colored poppies that grew in the once ravaged fields (where no poppy grew before) was because of the soldiers who shed their blood in the field.

When the war ended, the field was covered with red poppies that they also took as a symbol for the end of the war. In fact, one of the most famous poems written for World War I begins with the mention of poppies growing in the Flanders field. John McCrae wrote the poem. Because of the poem’s popularity, the significant flower became the symbol of remembrance of the soldiers that were lost during wars.

  • Name: Red Poppy
  • Color: Red
  • Shape: Inverted pyramid shape
  • Fact: The red poppy is commonly mistaken and thought as its look alike - the opium poppy. This is because of its similarity in characteristics. Although they may look the same, the red poppy is notably smaller and is widely known as a wildflower. It is not the same plant thats being used to produce narcotic drugs.
  • Poisonous: Yes almost all parts are poisonous with varying toxicity levels. The most poisonous part however is the raw green seed but when the poppy seeds become ripe, it becomes harmless. In fact, the ripe seeds are often used to make bread dough and syrups.
  • Number of Petals: Four to six petals
  • Victorian Interpretation: Pleasure or consolation
  • Blossom Time: Spring or fall (early and mid-season of the year - May to October)


They say that you have to be extra careful for the petals not to fall off when picking a red poppy. And if the red petal does fall off, make sure it wont hit your hand because if it does, then be wary as you will be struck by lightning.

What the Red Poppy Means

It is used to commemorate veterans in Europe, North America and Australia. All thanks to the poem, it’s also used as a remembrance flower for war deaths in France, Britain, Canada, US as well as other commonwealth parties.  The American Legion used the red poppy as their official symbol and is being used as red lapel poppy on Memorial Day to remember and honor the fallen soldiers by US veterans.

In ancient times, the red poppies were found to be part of Egyptian tombs that dates back to 3000 B.C.E. Another popular name for red poppy is corn poppy because according to Greeks and Roman legends, corns would not grow in the field without red poppies. Red poppies also symbolize the Goddess Demeter and also were used in the mythology as a flower offering for those who died.

  • The Shape: Some have are cup shaped while others looks like an inverted pyramid.
  • Petals: 4-6 petals per flower.
  • Numerology: Red poppies are associated with Aries that has a number sign of 9.
  • Color: Red which symbolizes passion.

Herbalism and Medicine:

The red poppy is well known for it’s sedative properties thus it also became a symbol for sleep. A sedative alkaloid known as rhoeadine is found in red poppies but it has no narcotic properties.

The seeds and the blossoms of the flower are also used as an ingredient in cough syrups. While the leaves and petals are used as part of infusions for curing sore throats, chest congestion, cough, asthma, hay fever, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nerve pain, insomnia as well as other respiratory illness.

By Flo Saul
Aug 21, 2012