Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

White poppies

Posted on by royvickery |

2014-12-29 12.05.10Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme the actor Mark Rylance has suggested that the red poppies traditionally worn on Remembrance Day should be replaced by white ones. These would be worn as symbols of peace ‘and to recognise that 90% of war casualties are civilian … The safest place to be on a battlefield was in the military. I felt therefore that remembrance only of the military dead and wounded was not very accurate’ [London Evening Standard, 2 January 2012].
White poppies were first produced by the Co-operative Women’s Guild in 1933, and the wearing of them peaked in 1938. Thereafter they appeared sporadically until 1980, when they were adopted and promoted by the Peace Pledge Union.
In the 1990s black poppies were produced to commemorate black and Asian people who died in war, and in 2011 purple poppies, ‘remembering the animal victims of war’, were produced Animal Aid.

Image: partĀ of wreath incorporating white poppies, and bearing a card ‘In Remembrance from Lambeth Green Party’, placed at base of the Streatham war memorial, London Borough of Lambeth; December 2014.

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