Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Wear your poppy correctly!

A letter from Birmingham, published in the Daily Mail of 5 November 2018, asks:

‘Why do so many TV presenters fail to wear a poppy correctly, with the leaf at 11 a.m.?’

Presumably this idea is derived from the fact that the First World War  officially finished at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  But although poppies with leaves were available many years ago, they fell out of favour and it was usual for simple leaf-less poppies to be sold. Only in recent years have poppies with leaves become available again.  When did the idea that poppies with leaves should be worn with the leaf indicating 11 o’clock first start?

Addendum:  In the Metro of 1 November 2013 a letter-writer from south London wrote: ‘Will all poppy wearers please wear them at the proper angle …  The leaf should be placed at the 11 o’clock position – the significance should be obvious.  It’s not just there for decoration’.   On the same day a second south Londoner wrote: ‘On the Tube this morning, there were mobiles, iPads and Kindles but barely a poppy in sight.  What a selfish society we have become’.

Updated 22 November 2022.

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