By Bobby J. Ward
An pleasing survey of eighty plant genera, with a mess of references to, and extracts from, fantasy and literature during the a long time. This pleasant booklet will motivate you to examine your individual backyard in a brand new gentle, according to what William Blake or the traditional Romans acknowledged approximately them.
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Additional info for A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature
How the common name winter aconite began to be applied is uncertain. The name is shared with its lethal botanical relative Aconitum, the monk's-hood or wolfbane. The names aconite and Aconitum are derived from the Greek work akoniton, meaning without dust or without struggle, suggesting that at one time E. hyemalis was also used (or misused) as a pharmaceutical or poison. Authors have freely interchanged the name aconitum for winter aconite and other buttercup family members, thereby casting a shadow on this bright, winsome herald of spring.
It is related to an old Arabic word ar, for fire, a reference to the burning or bitter taste of the leaves. The elegant and formal look of the upright spadix and surrounding spathe has resulted in a quaint and picturesque common name, lords and ladies, which most Page 46 frequently refers to A. maculatum. Cuckoo-pint, cuckoo-pintle, and priest's pintle are common names used in some British counties. " In a more refined sense, arum suggested ardor in the language of flowers. The common name arum lily is sometimes applied to Zantedeschia aethiopica, the calla lily or florist's arum.
I owe appreciation to Edna Whitson of Cockfosters, England; Gretl Meier of Santa Ynez, California; the staff of the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library at Vincent Square in London; the staff of the New York Botanical Garden Library in the Bronx; and Bill Burt and Jeff Beam of the Botany Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fellow gardeners Nancy Goodwin, Judy Glattstein, and Bobby Wilder steered me to some literary resources. Two people, now deceased, I want to acknowledge for the advice they gave along the way of this book's creation.