Poppies are a common sight in any Ukrainian village.  They are grown in profusion near every house, and small poppies grow wild in the fields in summer. No garden in Ukraine is complete without a row of bright red cultivated poppies.

Not only do they provide a beautiful burst of color in summer, but their seeds flavor food and pastries throughout the year, and poppy straw is used as an analgesic in traditional medicine. All poppies are, in fact, opium poppies.  Sadly, because of this simple fact, fewer and fewer poppies are being grown, as the government attempts too clamp down on illicit narcotics production by eliminating poppies.

The poppy was a symbol of death in traditional Ukrainian symbolism.  It would never have been placed on a pysanka.  Pysanky with poppy motifs are a modern Diasporan creation.



Opium Poppies

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