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W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

All species of poppies are attractive and most are cultivated as ornamental plants. A few species have other uses, principally as sources of drugs and foods. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is so widely used, for both drugs and food, that its worldwide production is monitored by international agencies. It yields opium and opiates, poppy seeds for use in cooking and baking, and poppy seed oil for culinary and other uses, and is also cultivated as an ornamental plant. In South Africa we plant poppies in April for a stunning display in winter and spring.

The Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the only species of Papaveraceae that is an agricultural crop grown on a large scale. Other species, Papaver rhoeas and Papaver argemone, are important agricultural weeds, and may be mistaken for the crop. The plant is a variable annual, forming a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed, not unlike our local Cosmos flowers (in South Africa).

Its origin is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practiced since the earliest times. It has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility.

  1. 4th September 2011 – FEATURED in Art Inspired by Written Words
  2. 13th September 2011 – FEATURED in Artists of Still Life
  3. 23rd January 2013 – FEATURED in Country Bumpkin
  4. 15th April 2013 – FEATURED in Live, Love, Dream

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 3 years ago

    What a delight!! Lovely !! Have a beautiful spring day Maree! x

  • Aaah, a lovely Spring Day to you too Liz! Thank you so much, and for the fav as well, appreciation!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • jamespaul
    jamespaulover 3 years ago


  • Thanks ever so much James!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AngieDavies
    AngieDaviesover 3 years ago

    What a lovely watercolor Maree! I guess spring is arriving there. We are just beginning to feel a touch of autumn in the air. How wonderful in this global community of redbubble that we can share in each others seasonal changes. Quite amazing! Lovely poem too!

  • Oh yes Angie, it’s definitely Spring here in South Africa! It’s totally wonderful! Even though our winters are short in comparison to those in the Northern Hemisphere, it seems like ages of just cold and cold and cold! And you are SO right, it is great that we can share in each other’s seasonal changes. I’ve learnt SO much about the rest of the world since joining RB, I feel like a seasoned traveller! Thanks for adding this to your favs, appreciate that!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 3 years ago

    A delightful spring painting, Maree!

  • Thanks a lot Dot!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Shayani Ann  Turko
    Shayani Ann T...over 3 years ago

    Maree this is beautiful and instantly caught my eye !

  • Wow, thanks a lot JC, pleased you like this!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • sentimentum
    sentimentumover 3 years ago

  • This is utterly splendid Senti! Thank you for the feature, I’m totally thrilled!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Lori Peters
    Lori Petersalmost 2 years ago

    This is beautiful..

  • Thank you for the feature Lori, a lovely honour!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Karen Checca
    Karen Checcaover 1 year ago


  • This is so great Karen! Thank you for the feature, greatly appreciated!

    – Maree Clarkson

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