The poppy was indigenous to Asia Minor and northern Mesopotamia, Persia and India. It grows throughout Israel, sometimes making whole fields brilliant red.

Poppies bloom for a few days in Aberdeen in late spring. The four petals open in the morning and close again in the evening.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to the "lilies of the field." Tulips, poppies, daisies and other wildflowers have all been suggested as candidates for "lilies of the field."

After the arrest and trial of Jesus, he was flogged, condemned to death and led to the place of crucifixion carrying his cross. He was so weakened from the torture and flogging that he suffered, he couldn’t carry it all the way. The Roman soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’s cross to Calvary (sometimes called Golgotha) where the crucifixion occurred.

After arriving at Calvary, Golgotha, Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink. He was then crucified and hung between two convicted thieves.

When Roman soldiers felt sorry for a prisoner they were crucifying, they added gall (possibly poppy juice), to the vinegar drink offered to prisoners. The opium poppy is a narcotic that induces a high level of deep sleep and pain relief. The gall in the wine offered to Jesus was possibly distilled from the Papaver somniferum plant. The gospels of Matthew and Mark record that after tasting the drink, Jesus refused it so that He could go through his suffering with a clear mind.

Derived from poppies, poppy juice has long been known as a powerful pain reliever. It may be used to represent the sleep of death and as such, poppies can be seen in portrayals of the Crucifixion or the death of saints.

The poppy flower is often seen as a symbol of recovery, relaxation and sleep.