The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war, and represents a common or field poppy, Papaver rhoeas. Inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields", and promoted by Moina Michael, they were first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers killed in that war (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans' groups in parts of the British Empire.
Today, they are mostly used in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to commemorate their servicemen and women killed in all conflicts. There, small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing leading up to Remembrance Day/Armistice Day, and poppy wreaths are often laid at war memorials. In Australia and New Zealand, they are also worn on Anzac Day.
The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal has caused some controversy, with some—including British Army veterans—arguing that it has become excessive, is being used to marshal support behind British military campaigns, and that public figures are pressured to wear poppies.
In the United Kingdom, remembrance poppies are sold by The Royal British Legion (RBL). This is a charity providing financial, social, political and emotional support to those who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces, and their dependants. They are sold on the streets by volunteers in the weeks before Remembrance Day. The remembrance poppy is the trademark of The Royal British Legion. The RBL state, "The red poppy is our registered mark and its only lawful use is to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal"; its yearly fundraising drive in the weeks before Remembrance Day. The RBL says these poppies are "worn to commemorate the sacrifices of our Armed Forces and to show support to those still serving today". Other poppy merchandise is sold throughout the year as part of the ongoing fundraising.