Monday, July 28, 2014
I found this white corn poppy Papaver rhoeas on the edge of a barley field near Egglestone in Teesdale last week. It's undoubtedly a genetic mutation that has prevented scarlet pigment formation in the petals but, oddly, not in the stamen filaments.
It was a similar mutation, that produced pale petal edges, found by Reverend William Wilks near his rectory garden at Shirley near Croydon in 1880, that led to his breeding of the famous Shirley poppies - a strain that's still on sale in garden centres.
Scarlet corn poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of the sacrifice and senseless slaughter in wars since the end of World War 1. White poppies were adopted by the pacifist movement, in remembrance of the dead and as part of the No More Wars movement, in the 1920s, as a symbol of peace.