Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inula helenium

 This picture is taken at Kristian Fenderson's garden and when I saw it I recognized having seen it in Gordon and Mary's Garden, but I did not know who it was. A few days later, at Morning Star nursery, I saw a plant that looked similar with a tag calling it Elecampane. Yesterday I found it again in the Hayward's garden blooming lusciously under the dark foliage of the Physocarpus opifolius 'Diabolo.' It is amazing when a plant enters your consciousness and then it turns up everywhere! I looked up Elecampane and found its Latin name is Inula helenium. There happens to be 90 species of Inula and I assume the above is helenium, but Scott at Morning Star says you should never assume anything in Kris Fenderson's garden! Anyway, I did find some information about the name of Elecampane and a little bit about my own name too!

"Inula, the Latin classical name for the plant, is considered to be a corruption of the Greek word Helenion which in its Latinized form, Helenium, is also now applied to the same species. There are many fables about the origin of this name. Gerard tells us: 'It took the name Helenium of Helena, wife of Menelaus, who had her hands full of it when Paris stole her away into Phrygia.' Another legend states that it sprang from her tears: another that Helen first used it against venomous bites; a fourth, that it took the name from the island Helena, where the best plants grew."
 Read more here!

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