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Bible Plants

Flowers of the Field

Papaver rhoeas. Cyprus 5 May 2002

"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall. . . " writes the Apostle Peter. This fleeting bloom is probably the common poppy Papaver subpiriforme (also known as Papaver rhoeas).

Spring in the Holy Land comes early. By February, the hills above the Jordan Valley are filled with riotous masses of wildflowers. What a display! In fact, the hills above the Ghor [Jordan Valley] have one of the most diverse floras per unit area on our planet. One of the plants that stands out here is the poppy with its red flowers.

A special place to see poppies is along the road from Jerash to Angana. The poppies grow amongst the olive trees; the crimson color of the flowers complementing the dark green leaves of the olive. Each poppy plant has a single flower which rises from a prominent bud. Poppies are distinctive in having petals crinkled in the bud. As they open, they smooth out and with a day fall, leaving the ground littered with the petals which soon dry and lose their color in the hot sun. Fruits produce abundant, small seeds dispensed through numerous pores.

Poppy may be confused with the common anemone, Anemone coronaria. However, the poppy is annual, while the anemone is perennial.

Reproduced from: Musselman, L. J. 2000. Jordan in Bloom. Wildflowers of the Holy Land. Original watercolors by Dasha Fomicheva, artist to the Royal Hashemite Court. Under the Patronage of HM Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan. Jordan River Foundation; Amman, Jordan. 112 pages.

Papaver rhoeas. Pella, Jordan.

Papaver rheoas Papaveraceae