Britain celebrates Remembrance Day with poppies

Today (November 11th) marks Remembrance Day in the UK, when the country will hold a minutes silence for those who have given their lives in combat.

Another way of remembering the dead around this time is to wear poppies (Papaver rhoeas), which are synonymous with the solemn celebration.

Drivers will often notice the red blooms by the side of new roads, as although the seeds can lie dormant for hundreds of years, disturbing the soil can aid germination.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the earliest known reference to rhoeas was in Theophrastus Historia Planataru – a 300 BC text, which included information on Mecon rhoeas.

It is also a little-known fact that the plants were called thunder flowers by the Celts, who believed they would spring into bloom to warn of a storm coming.

Those wishing to keep fresh poppies in a vase should first sear the stem with a naked flame, which helps prolong the life of the flower, once picked.

The UK celebrated Remembrance Sunday on November 8th – the second Sunday of November – but a minutes silence is usually observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.