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Golden Poppy Symbolism

Perhaps no plant in history has had such a remarkable impact on medicine as the poppy, and to this day virtually every human being experiences its narcotic effects at some point in life. Poppies were used throughout antiquity for a wide range of purposes ranging from pain killer to sleep aid. The early Greeks viewed it as a fertility symbol while the ancient Egyptians buried their dead with the flowers.

In more modern times, the poppy became not a symbol of death, but a symbol of remembrance and commemoration. This was popularized in World War I by the poet John McCrae, before he too was killed in the Great War. The Royal British Legion today still uses the red poppy as a symbol in their Poppy Appeal.

The golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica, does not produce the opium found in the oriental poppies, and perhaps because of this has evolved its own symbolism based on its color and endemic range. Now the official state flower of California, it is found virtually everywhere on the West Coast of the United States. It is a resilient flower which dominates vast hilly grasslands in the late Spring and early Summer when the winter rains have soaked the seeds with water. Early Californians viewed the golden poppy as a symbol of wealth and, most importantly, success.

With all the symbolism behind the poppy, I felt an affinity for it immediately. Not only is it a flower that reminds me of my childhood and innocence, but it has a very complicated, poignant history that resonated in a strange way with a fight against a brain tumor. It's use as a commemoration of lives lost "in battle", it's ability to free the sick of their pain, and the golden poppy's symbolism of success, led me to adapt one more role for this flower to serve. I did not set out to find a symbol for this site, but rather went looking simply for a beautiful picture. It was only after I had developed the visuals for this site that I decided to look it up and see what I could find on the history of the plant.

Success to those who can fight the battle and commemoration to those who give their lives. I don't think a more perfect symbol could have found me. Logo Footer