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Re: garden trivia


In a message dated 10/20/2005 2:02:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
4042N15@nationalhearing.com writes:
New York Aster, Aster novi-belgii

Novi-belgii is Linnaeus' attempt to translate New Amsterdam (now New York)
into Latin; the Belgii were the tribe encountered by Julius Caesar in the
Low Countries.

It's not a No play, but interesting nonetheless.  Anyone else with a tidbit
to share?

Kitty
Did you really mean that, Kitty?  I am fascinated with such trivia.
Here are just a few:

The wildflower Muilla is an anagram derived by spelling its onion relative
(Allium) backwards.

    The name nasturtium comes from the Latin nasus, bnose,b and tortus,
b
twisted,b because their pungent smell makes the nose wrinkle or twist.  The
botanical name is from the Greek tropaion, ba trophy,b referring to the
shield-like shape of the leaves.  In ancient Greece, the shields and helmets
of defeated
enemies were fixed onto tree trunks.  Linnaeus saw the plant twining up a
post and thought the leaves looked like hanging shields and the flowers like
helmets.

   Celandine can be a noxious weed, but it is also an interesting and
attractive plant. When it is called by its botanical name and described with
an
impartial eye, do you recognize Chelidonium majus?    bChelidonb is the
Greek word
for bswallowb, and the name for this plant is probably derived from the
fact
that it begins to burgeon when the swallows arrive in spring and dies back
when they leave again in autumn.  Legend has it that swallows use a sprig of
this plant, or its juice, to restore the sight of their young when these
cannot
see.  Herbalist John Gerard debunked this belief, because, he thought, as did
Aristotle a millennium earlier, that the sight of blinded young birds would be
restored spontaneously.   Carrying this plant on onebs person, together
with
the heart of a mole, was supposed to enable the wearer to vanquish his
enemies, and also to win lawsuits.  Also, worn in the shoes, it was a remedy
for
yellow jaundice.

.  Atropa belladonna, commonly called bdeadly nightshadeb is named for
Atropos, a Greek goddess who determined the length of onebs life.  It is a
European
plant, and is a member of the Solanaceae family.

   Maclura pomifera, or Osage oranges were named after the Osage Indians of
Arkansas and Missouri, and brought East by the Lewis and Clark expedition.
French explorers named the tree bois dbarc, or bbow wood,b which was
corrupted to bBodark,b a name given to some towns in the Midwest, where
the fruits
are sometimes called bBodark apples.b    The fruits, which look remarkably
like
brains, are an effective cockroach deterrant. If they had been known in
Europe in the Middle Ages they would surely have been used for ailments of the
head, following the bDoctrine of Signatures.b The botanical name, Maclura,
was
given in honor of William Maclure, who came from Scotland to America as a
young
man, made a great fortune, and devoted the rest of his life to improving the
world.  He believed in the value of education in democracy, and toured Europe
observing and commenting on religion, education, hygiene and sexual customs.
He made the first geological map of the United States.

  The herb, thyme, was introduced into Britain by the Romans, and listed by
Aelfric.  As an emblem of courage, thyme was added to soups and beer to cure
shyness.  During the middle Ages, ladies presented their bbold and braveb
knights with bfavoursb embroidered with a sprig of thyme.   The plantbs
botanical
name, Thymus, is derived from either the Greek for courage or to fumigate, the
latter referring to its use as incense in temples.

Dahlias are called after Dr. Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist.  Until recently
they were also called bgeorginas,b after the botanist Johann Georgi of
Petersburg.  The name is still used in Eastern Europe.
   Peonies were for many centuries grown for medicinal purposes. The
botanical name, Paeonia, comes from Paeon, the physician of the Greek gods. In
the
Iliad there is a description of Paeon stanching wounds with herbs.  Some
stories
say that Asclepias became jealous of Paeon because he possessed the healing
root and Zeus changed Paeon into a plant to save him.   Pliny the Elder, who
died in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, attributed to it the power to cure
twenty different ills.  He said it should only be uprooted at night bbecause
the
woodpecker of Mars, should he see the act, will attack the eyes in its
defense.
b

  What we usually think of today when we speak of Marigolds are several
species of Tagetes.  Now therebs a real native species, which we can grow
without
any guilt about bringing in non-natives.  All species of Tagetes are native to
the New World, from Arizona and New Mexico to Argentina.  They were taken back
to Spain by early explorers, and from there to France, where they were, for
some reason called flos Africanus. Linnaeus gave them the name Tagetes, in
honor of Tages, the grandson of Jupiter who taught the Etruscans haruspicy
(the
art of foretelling the future by examining entrails).  These are the
bFrenchb
or bAfricanb types.

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