Monday, September 10, 2012

Plant Lore

Love-in-a-Mist  Nigella damascena
The generic name is from Latin niger, black, from the colour of the seeds, which are aromatic and slightly narcotic. The specific name was given because the plant was said to have been brought to Europe from Damascus in about 1570. Love-in-a-mist is also known as love-in-a-puzzle, fennel flower,  Jack-in-prision, prick-my-nose, devil-in-a-bush (because the horned capsules peer from a bush of finely divided fringe) and St. Catherine's flower (it is dedicated to that saint) from a resemblance between the shape of its flowers and the wheel on which St. Catherine was executed.

Love-in-a mist is the birthday flower for September 13, symbolizing embarrassment and perplexity.

Love-lies Bleeding Amaranthus caudatus

Love-lies-bleeding in the bed whereover
Roses lean with smiling mouths or pleading:
Earth lies laughing where the sun's darts clove her:
      Love lies bleeding

A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909)

Symbolizes desertion. In the language of  the flowers it means, 'Hopeless but not heartless'.

 from: The Illustrated Plant Lore  Josephine Addision  1985