Nothing encapsulates better this capacity of nature to inspire than the humble poppy. Once a common sight in cornfields because of its ability to thrive in poor soils, and made famous by John McCrae’s World War I poem, there are more than 200 species of poppy, including the Turkish poppy, from which opium is produced, and the Iranian poppy, from which codeine is produced – two highly valued, but contrasting drugs.
This pharmaceutical prowess combines with a deceptively simple, fragile beauty, and this is reflected in its symbolic value, whereby poppies have come to represent both death and eternal life.
Despite being hardy and having an efficient reproduction system, the poppy dies when cut and so can never be tamed for flower arranging. Excellent.