Poppy Flower Meaning: What Does the Poppy Flower Mean?

Most people associate the poppy flower meaning with medicinal purposes. However, for over a century, poppies have been used by various communities and cultures to communicate certain messages. Like many other flowers, poppies come in various colors, each with its meaning.

So, what does the poppy flower mean? Poppies symbolize sleep, love, romance, sacrifice, dreams, imagination, regeneration, remembrance, and luxury. While the meaning and symbolism of the poppy differ per culture, some share similar sentiments to this day. 

This article will explore the different meanings and symbolism of the poppy flower and how it remains special to many worldwide.

In daily life, a symbol of the good things, only the Poppy in religion, mythology, Poppy such an important role in the political and medicine. Often found along the roadside ditches and other humble place growth, these flowers have magic poet, help doctors treat their patients for centuries. In addition to poppy medicinal and edible quality, flower is a symbol of some very deep emotions.

For many cultures, the Poppy is a symbol of:

•    Restful sleep and recovery
•    Consolation for a loss or death in the family
•    Remembering the fallen of various wars and armed conflicts
•    A lively imagination
•    Peace in death
•    Messages delivered in dreams
•    Resurrection and eternal life
•    Beauty and success
•    Extravagance and luxury

Poppy symbolism is very different from country to country, but there are similarities.

Poppy Flower Meaning in Myths

Poppy Myths

After her daughter was kidnapped, the goddess Demeter was unable to sleep. So the other gods would give her poppies to induce sleep so she could rest. After giving Demeter poppies, the flower would grow wherever she stepped. Demeter was also the goddess of fertility; people would put poppies on her shrine to honor her.

Did you know that morphine was named after the Greek god Morpheus who was associated with sleep and dreams? It is no secret that poppy seeds are the main ingredient in today’s opiates. Historically, the flower was also used to induce sleep and reduce pain.

The poppy flower symbolized the Roman goddess Ceres and other characters like Nix, Thanatos, and Hypnos.

In ancient Egypt, the poppy flower represented agriculture and death. The flower was a symbol of the Egyptian god of death and agriculture, Osiris. Poppies were a common symbol on various artifacts buried with mummies to show eternal life.

We assume the ancient Egyptians knew that poppies were hardy plants meaning they could grow in tough conditions. So they used the flower for crop rotation to restore the soil. This remains a common practice among farmers today. 

Poppy Flower Meaning in the Military

Poppy Flower Military

It is not only people who die in a war. The land where the battle occurs is also left desolate and infertile. This was the case during World War I, at least until the red poppy flower grew, where the land was devastated after the battle.

The now-famous soldier who witnessed it all was called Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. After the second battle of Ypres, the soldier noticed clusters of red poppies growing over the buried bodies of fallen soldiers in Flanders Fields.  

Inspired by this beautiful sight, McCrae wrote a poem called ‘In Flanders Field,’ published in 1915. Since then, the poem has been used to commemorate fallen soldiers in various memorial ceremonies worldwide.

Additionally, towards the end of the first world war, Moina Michael, a volunteer at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), wrote another poem called ‘We Shall Keep the Faith. McCrae’s poem inspired the poem to remember and honor the sacrifices of fallen soldiers during the war.

After the war, Moina Michaels also sold red silk poppies to help facilitate the return of veteran soldiers to their country. In 1920, the American Legion in Georgia adopted the poppy symbol, which led to the National American Legion using it as their official emblem of remembrance in September of the same year.

In France, Madame Guerin is credited to have helped spread the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in war-torn France and other Commonwealth countries. Like Moina Michaels, Madame Guerin, with the help of women and children, also sold artificial poppies to help fund the restoration of France after the war.

It did not take long for other countries to start using the poppy as a symbol of remembrance of the 1918 armistice. Every November 11th, on Remembrance Day, people in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand, wear the poppy to honor the soldiers who fought for their country.

In America, people wear the flower on Memorial Day to commemorate all soldiers who have fought for their countries over the years.

Spiritual Meaning of the Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower Spritual

In relation to death and sacrifice, spiritually, poppies also signify eternal life and reincarnation. In Christianity, poppies symbolize the death and resurrection of Christ. It symbolizes death because Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross and his resurrection or renewed hope because he rose again on the third day. Poppy flowers are also a symbol of Christ’s blood.

Many Christians associate the phrase ‘flowers in the field’ with poppy flowers. This makes sense considering poppies are wildflowers that can grow spontaneously. However, the Bible does not mention poppy flowers anywhere, and there is no justification that the above statement is related to the flower.

Poppy Flower Tattoo Meaning

Poppy Flower Tattoo

People get tattoos for various reasons, and most have a personal meaning. However, most tattoo meanings borrow from the original meaning of the artwork, in this case, the poppy flower. You can get a tattoo of a single poppy flower, a blend of a poppy and a butterfly, a hand, or even another plant.

You can get the poppy flower tattoo in different colors too.

Regardless of the image, a poppy flower tattoo can represent sadness, the memory of a loved one, prosperity, fertility, and personality.

Below is a table summarizing the different poppy tattoos and their meanings:

TattooPoppy Tattoo Meaning
Red poppyFree-spirited, love of adventure, independence,
Yellow poppyNeed for prosperity, success, a love for the finer things in life
Blue poppyTo remember your loved ones who have died, sadness, peace
Purple poppyWealth, prosperity, good luck
California poppyFree spirit, joy, passion, strength
Poppy field tattooSymbolizes someone with an adventurous spirit with powerful inner strength
Rose and poppy flowerFertility, passion, love, romance
A hand holding a poppy flowerPeaceful death

Poppy: The California State Flower

The California State Flower

The California poppy was declared the state flower in 1903. Previously, this bright yellow flower was used by the Native Americans to make oil and as a source of food.

The flower is also known as the flame flower, and it grows wildly all over the state of California.

California annually celebrates Poppy Day on April 6th and Poppy Week from May 13th to May 18th.

8 Poppy Colors and Their Meanings

Poppies come in various colors, including red, blue, orange, pink, purple, yellow, black, and white. The meaning of each poppy flower color is described below.

1. Red Poppy Flower Meaning

Red Poppy

Red poppy flowers are put on the tombstones of soldiers during Remembrance Day to signify sacrifice and remembrance. Besides that, red poppies also represent the blood of Christ. In Japan and China, the red poppy means faith, loyalty, love, romance, and success.

2. Yellow Poppy Flower Meaning

Yellow Poppy

Yellow poppies are bright and vibrant, so they are associated with joy, optimism, hope, renewal, and positivity. Yellow poppies are uncommon but can grow in small clusters in a favorable environment. They are also used in memorials to encourage loved ones to focus on the positive memories of the dead.

3. Blue Poppy Flower Meaning

Blue Poppy

There are very few naturally blue flowers, including the blue poppy. These flowers grow naturally in the Himalayas, and the color is from a pigment called delphinidin. Blue poppies symbolize inspiration, desire, spiritual power, imagination, and magic.

4. Purple Poppy Flower Meaning

People are not the only victims of war. Horses, dogs, and pigeons, among other animals, have also lost their lives during the war. To remember these animals’ sacrifices, people use purple poppies. Additionally, purple poppies symbolize wealth, luxury, peace, and imagination. Purple poppies are a great décor idea in an art room because they can help inspire creativity.

5. Orange Poppy Flower Meaning

Orange Poppy

The orange poppy flower is also known as the Spanish poppy. Their petals are frilly, so they look like orange feathers. Orange poppies represent health, energy, excitement, renewal, and regeneration. They are the perfect gift for someone who is transitioning into a new phase in life or someone who needs an energy or mood boost after a tough situation.

6. Pink Poppy Flower Meaning

Pink poppies are a very rare but beautiful sight. They represent plutonic love, compassion, and restful sleep. They are a great choice if you want to appreciate a friend and what they are going through.

7. Black Poppy Flower Meaning

 Black Poppy

The Papaver somniferum paeoniflorum variety of poppies come in darker shades, including black. The black poppy flower symbolizes elegance, mystery, deep sleep, power, strength, goodbyes, and memories.

In 2010, a motion was passed that the black poppy flower would be used to commemorate African and Caribbean soldiers’ contributions to the military service. This is to inspire conversation and encourage more narratives about the contributions of black soldiers throughout history.

8. White Poppy Flower Meaning

white poppy

White poppies are common in funerals as they symbolize remembrance and eternal life. The flower also represents faith, innocence, purity, renewal, good dreams, and restful sleep. White poppies are also used in bridal bouquets to complement the bride’s white gown.

Below is a table to summarize poppy colors and their meanings:

Poppy ColorMeaning
Red poppyRemembrance, Christ’s blood, faith, loyalty, love, romance, success
Yellow poppyJoy, optimism, renewal, hope, positivity
Blue poppyInspiration, desire, spiritual power, magic
Purple poppyRemembrance of animal victims in the war, wealth, luxury, peace, imagination
Orange poppyHealth, energy, renewal, excitement, regeneration
Pink poppyPlutonic love, compassion, restful sleep
Black poppyRemembrance of black soldiers, mystery, strength, power, goodbyes, elegance
White poppyFaith, innocence, purity, renewal, good dreams, restful sleep

Etymological Meaning of the Poppy Flower’


All of the common Poppies used for landscaping, grown for edible seeds, or used for medicine share the common name of Papaver. This name is based on the Latin word for milk, pappa, due to the white and opaque latex sap that drips out when the stem or seed pod is cut. Some of the most widely used grown types of Poppies include the Papaver somniferum, the Papaver orientale, and the Eschscholzia californica.

Symbolism of the Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

The Poppy is one of the most widely used symbolic flower around the world. Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman societies linked it with sleep due the sedative effect of the plant’s sap. The Greeks in particular tied it to sleep because of Morpheus, the God of sleep. The Victorians gave the flower a variety of meanings based on the color, including consolation for loss, deep sleep, and extravagance. Chinese and Japanese flower experts recommend the Poppy for couples because it means a deep and passionate love between two people, but white Poppies are tied to death in those cultures too. Other colors represent success and beauty in Eastern cultures. Red opium is a traditional flower mark in Europe and North America, because it with the first World War I and II. Some people just think it’s a good sign of summer, because of its size and color.

Poppy Flower Color Meanings

Poppy Flower Color

The color meaning of a Poppy varies greatly. Some common connections include:

•    Red – Linked to death, remembrance, and consolation in the West. Symbolizes success and love in the East.
•    White – Used for funerals and memorials in the East, sleep and peaceful rest in the West.
•    Purple, Pink, Blue – Tied to imagination, luxury, and success.

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Poppy Flower

Meaningful Botanical

Opium poppy is used in the production of morphine, codeine, and other drugs play a key role in the development of modern medical poppy. Of course, demand for poppy product has pushed many political movements and armed conflict. Other types of poppy seeds used for the manufacture of a large number of small black tea or for flavor bread and other foods. Oil from the seeds of squeezing and good cooking and cosmetics. Some poppy growth in difficult conditions, make them become a useful decorative plants.

Special Occasions for the Poppy Flowers

Special Occasions

Since the flowers are large, cup-shaped, and colorful, Poppy bouquets and sprays look impressive. Give the gift of the Poppy for occasions like:

•    Funerals and memorial services, especially for soldiers that pass away while serving or veterans
•    Encouraging better sleep in friends and family members experiencing insomnia
•    Making an offering to the dead by leaving the flowers on graves or tombs
•    Sending a sign of your love to a spouse or romantic interest
•    Setting up a luxurious atmosphere for a specific event

Conclusion: The Poppy Flower’s Message is…

Remember those who have passed away to protect you and all that you love. Develop your own sense of inner peace so you can rest at night and get all the sleep you need. Honor the dead and cultivate your imagination for a richer life.

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