When I am out botanizing I deliberately slow my pace, often coming to a complete stop, to look around. Simply put, the slower I go the more I see. Sometimes more means larger quantities, other times it means finer details.
Despite being noted in one of my trusted guide books as commonplace and widespread, the diminutive enchanter's nighshade (Circaea lutetiana) had eluded me. The delicate plant immediately intrigued me, and my readings made me all the more pleased with my find. I adore plant folklore, and this plant has one of my favourite backstories.
The genus (Circaea) received its name from Circe, an enchantress in Homer's epic The Odyssey. As the story goes, Circe invited the crew from the hero Odysseus's ship to her home for a feast. The feast's food and wine were laced with this plant and used to transform the crew into pigs.
See my other faves from 2016 here.
News, reflections, notes and ramblings by PTBO Flora founder Rachel.