The poppy is the classic cornfield plant. Throughout history it has been one of the most successful of all agricultural weeds. Its brilliant colour has made it one of our best-known plants - it is beloved of artists and poets, though often hated by farmers. But its origins are obscure; it seems entirely confined to agricultural and marginal land, wherever it is found. Where was it before the inception of agriculture? And how is it that it is almost unique in its colour among the flowers of northern Europe?
In Poppy Andrew Lack explores all aspects of one of our most familiar but declining flowers, combining history and biology with symbolic associations and connections with the arts. He describes why the poppy is so intimately associated with war and remembrance, and tells remarkable stories about the different varieties: the opium poppy, one of the oldest of narcotics, has had a profound influence on human history; the term 'tall poppy syndrome' is now used to describe envy of the success of a peer; and in many countries the poppy has come to symbolize weddings or death. Beautifully illustrated throughout, Poppy will appeal to the many admirers of this most colourful and striking plant.