June 20, 2014

The Oriental Poppy: A Grand Potentate Emerging

The Oriental poppy buds stand up large and tall, irregularly rounded and bristling, their central indentation announcing a coming opening. They look forbidding and fierce, warning off predators.

How different are the buds of the annual Shirley poppy: though also spiky, the bud is small and shy, bowing its head before the world.

I photographed the buds on Monday; on Tuesday morning I was surprised to see many of the flowers had opened, the one at the top right still wearing its little cap of protective bud.

The bud has split and a little bit of folded scarlet petal shows.

The petals rise up like flame....

....or flow outwards, a fan opening.

The pleated petals are still cupped and will quickly open out into a large saucer....

...while the fallen cover of the flower lies on the grass like a seashell on the beach.

Looking inside the opened flower, the pistil and stamens are royally beautiful, an Oriental ruler wearing a turbaned crown, and with a high elaborate ruff. They sit inside a royal red, seemingly delicate and papery, yet tough, and resistant to the winds of change.

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