What Is The National Flower of Belgium?
Red Poppy is the national flower of Belgium. Scientific name of the Red Poppy is Papaver rhoeas. Red poppy, Belgium’s national flower, is commonly known as common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy and Flanders poppy). The flower originally comes from Papaveraecae family.
Very few flowers have played such a significant role in religion, politics and medicine as the poppy. These bright red flowers have often enchanted poets and helped the doctors for centuries. The national flower of Belgium, Red Poppy, not only contains medicinal and edible qualities, but also this flower symbolizes very deep emotions.
Facts about Belgium’s National Flower (Red Poppy)
- Common Name: common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy or red poppy.
- Genus: Papaver
- Species: rhoeas
- Found in: Countryside of Eastern Europe
- Color: Red
- Number of petals: 4
- Time of blooming: Mid June to October
- Purpose: Agricultural and medicinal uses.
- Symbolism: Death, remembrance and consolation
Papaver rhoeas is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is noteworthy as an agricultural weed (hence the common names including “corn” and “field”). Before the beginning of herbicides, P. rhoeas sometimes was so plentiful in agricultural fields that it could be mistaken for a crop. In the northern hemisphere it generally flowers in late spring, but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. It grows up to about 70 cm in height.
The flowers are large and showy, about 50 to 100 mm across. The poppies have four petals that are stunningly red and they usually have a black spot at their base. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface. The Common Red Poppy is the national flower symbol of Belgium. Growing in fields and waste places, these beautiful flowers are mildly numbing and sedative, and have long been used in European herbal medicine, particularly for ailments in children and the elderly. Used mostly as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for prickly coughs, Red Poppy also reduces nervous over activity.
Bright and valiant, the magnificent beauty of poppies is something to behold. But this bloom does more than light up any countryside. It also serves as an important symbol to the veterans lost in the World War I and is used in honoring those that have been lost. In the Memorial Day parade, people are handed a red poppy made from crepe paper showing consolation to the dead.
This tradition dates back to 1915, when the entire European villages were shattered in battle. After a long and gloomy winter, red poppies began to appear across the battlefields. This event led to the acceptance of red poppies as important national symbol. P. rhoeas contains the alkaloid rhoeadine which is a placid sedative.
Poppy seeds contain opium alkaloids, meaning that if poppy seeds are ingested, in the most innocent of ways, it can give false readings during a drugs test. As a result, people travelling on planes between countries are advised not to carry poppy seeds and even, they are classified as ‘prohibited goods’ in some countries.
The black seeds are also edible, and can be eaten either on their own or as ingredients on bread. Oil made from the seed is also highly regarded. The petals contain a red dye which is used in some medicines and wines, also the dried petals are occasionally used to give color to potpourris.
To sum up, Red poppies not only decorate the countryside, they can be also be used in various ways in the day to day life. And the linkage to the history with the veterans of World War I is what makes these gorgeous flowers the national flower of Belgium.