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Oriental Poppy Notecard

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Each of our cards is blank on the inside for your personal messages, while the back features an educational and informative story that compliments the artwork on the front.

Web images are displayed with Acorn Designs faint watermark but actual cards are printed and shipped without the watermark.

Cards are printed on high quality 100% recycled paper (minimum 50% post-consumer). The inks used in printing are vegetable-oil based. Each card measures 41/2″ x 61/4″.

Made in the USA

Description

Oriental Poppy (Papaver Orientale)

On a mid-May morning in my unkempt garden a brilliant burst of red struggled free from fuzzy green confines, like a crumpled chiffon dress out of a tightly packed valise. The creased item flared its skirts flamenco-style, forcing my paints and brushes to pay it homage.

Poppies have a long history—Mesopotamians, ancient Greeks and Egyptians were familiar with its soothing, restorative or euphoric effects. Demeter, goddess of the harvest and seasons, distraught at her daughter Persephone’s abduction, used the poppy to forget her sorrow in sleep. The name papaver derives from pappa, the Latin for milk (latex from the seed capsule being a sticky milky substance). Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, quite distinct from oriental or field poppies, contains an opaque milky sap through the plant.

In the past, the whole plant, fruit and leaves were crushed yielding a substance, Mekonion, less potent than opium. It was ingested, combined with wine, water and honey, or milk. It was smoked, used in poultices, eye-washes, or made into pellets and suppositories. The ancients knew well the potentially fatal and addictive powers of opium. By the 19th century, tincture of opium (laudanum) a popular remedy as easily available as aspirin is today, was a common ingredient in many patent medicines. A small dose would stop children crying, stave off hunger pangs, numb sorrow or pain.

Modern methods of opium extraction focus on the capsule which is notched or scored. The oozing sap contains sugars, proteins, ammonia, latex, gums, plant wax, fats, plus sulfuric, meconic and lactic acids and several alkaloids such as morphine and codeine—the best known. Today cultivation of opium poppies is illegal in many countries.

Blood-red corn poppies sprang up from the battlefields of Waterloo and Flanders amidst the disturbed and blood-saturated soil, connecting death with the promise of resurrection. Immortalized in the famous World War I poem by John McCrae, the poppy in the 20th century has come to stand for wartime remembrance.

Poppies can soothe or kill, help us forget or remember, symbolize death or resurrection—what powers in a mere botanical specimen!

artwork and text by milly acharya © 2008

Additional information

Weight 0.03 lbs
Dimensions 6.25 × 4.5 × 0.04 in
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Set of 6, Single