I was not painted very much in 17th-century Dutch still lives of flowers, because I had not been seen very often in the Netherlands at that time.

It was only at the end of the century that the Dutch East India Company took me home with them from the Balkans. Still, I can be seen in a few still lives.

There’s a red and white poppy in ‘Vase of Flowers’ (1660) by Jan Davidsz. De Heem, for instance,

and a bright red one in Maria Oosterwyck’s ‘Bloemen in een versierde vaas’.

I also appear in ‘Vase with flowers’ (1700), a still life by Rachel Ruysch, one of the very few female master painters in the Netherlands, and the daughter of the famous Amsterdam professor of anatomy and botany Frederik Ruysch.

The painting shows a bouquet that’s past its best: the flowers are drooping and starting to fade.

A flower has been cut off at the centre of the bouquet, leaving a clear gap. And it must have just happened, because the stalk is still dripping sap.

The drops are falling onto large poppy leaves and slowly rolling down. It seems very likely that I, the large red opium poppy, famous for my brief bloom, am the flower that was cut out.