Thursday, June 2, 2016

Split Personality?

Nigella damascena Kelloggii, also known as Love-in-a-Mist, Ragged Lady, Devil in the Bush, Fennell Flower, etc., etc.  So, I wonder if those names reflect properties the plant has, or perhaps the mood of the person coining the name.  I've done a little web browsing, and so far have found the following tidbits.  The "petals," which come in various shades of blue and white and combinations, are not really petals in the strict botanical sense.  They are sepals.  The actual petals are tiny and rather hidden at the bases of the stamens.
Nigella is in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. It's a native of the Mediterranean region and the species name refers to Damascus, Syria.  If Donald Trump should be elected - perish the thought - maybe he'll deport all things Syrian.  And build a wall so no more will enter.
 The generic name, Nigella, is the diminutive of niger, a Latin word for black.  This refers to the black seeds.  From them, we get still another name in the culinary realm, black cumin.  So, my answer to the bard's famous question "What's in a name?" is "plenty."

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