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Re: garden trivia


Auralie and Zem,
Those are great stories. I think it's fun sometimes to know a bit of
background about our plants. Puts us on a more "intimate" footing with
them.


When I was writing a self-guided tour for our gardens I looked up Scotch
Thistle, Onopordum acanthium, the national emblem of Scotland.
Apparently these 6ft to 10ft thistles saved the lives of soldiers and
the entire kingdom from a night-time invasion (from whom I don't recall
- but they came in boats) The marauders thought they could sneak up on
Scotland at night under a negligible moon. But without the moonlight
they kept running into thistles and screaming out in pain, thus alerting
the sleeping guards.


Kitty

-- "Zemuly Sanders" <zsanders@midsouth.rr.com> wrote:
Auralie, thanks for all that good info.  I just adore trivia and have some 
of my own to add.  In 1676 British soldiers in North America were commanded 
to go to Jamestown to suppress a rebellion.  They were acutely short of food 
and, out of ignorance or through a misunderstanding, they they cooked up the 
young shoots and leaves of Datura stramonium and ate them as a vegetable. 
After a while they showed strange changes in their behavior.  They fell into 
a type of trance or "comical madness" that made them have all sorts of 
foolish notions and act stupidly.  One of them tried again and again to make 
a feather climb in the air and another threw straw until he was completely 
exhausted.  A third sat stark naked in a corner and contorted his face like 
an ape into a continual grin.  Everything they did was totally non-violent; 
they were simply good-naturedly idiotic.  Since those days, the colloquial 
name for Datura stramonium in North America has been "Jamestown weed," which 
over time became "Jimson weed."
zem

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Aplfgcnys@aol.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:11 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] 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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