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Few weeds have been more successful throughout history than the poppy. Hated by farmers for its stubbornness, the poppy has been a favorite of artists and poets, due to its distinct and brilliant color, and it has functioned symbolically as everything from a war memorial to an emblem of the exotic cultures of the East. In Poppy, Andrew Lack explores all the aspects of one of our most familiar flowers, combining biology, history, and culture to paint a bright portrait of this fascinating plant.
Lack looks deep into the past of the poppy's ancient history – before it seemed to inhabit only ditches and cornfields – and examines the biology that gives it its unique coloring. He analyzes the poppy's many members of this beautiful family, including the opium poppy, which is the source of one of the world's oldest – and most ravaging – narcotics. He describes how the poppy came to be associated with war and remembrance, and he looks at how they have been used to commemorate everything from weddings to funerals. Beautifully illustrated, Poppy will appeal to gardeners or anyone fascinated by the way plants have so powerfully figured in human culture and traditions.
Andrew Lack is a lecturer in biology at Oxford Brookes University. His previous books include Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature (2008), Instant Notes in Plant Biology, with David Evans (2005), and The Natural History of Pollination, with Michael Proctor and Peter Yeo (1996).
"[...] This glossy and attractive book by biologist Andrew Lack is aimed at a far wider audience than just the readership of the Bulletin and achieves well its aim of integrating botanical writing with a broader account of the cultural and social impact of plants and flowers."
– Alan Crowden, BES Bulletin 48(3), September 2017