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easter lily button Easter Lily
Lilium Longiflorum
Family: Liliaceae
Common Names: ~Bermuda Lily~ ~Japanese Easter Lily~ ~Longtubed White Lily~ ~Trumpet Lily~ ~White Trumpet Lily~ ~Snow Queen ~ ~Mary's Tears~ ~Jacob's Tears~ ~Ladder to Heaven~

~Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
they toil not, neither do they spin:
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.~
~Matthew 6:28-29~

Easter Lily originated in Japan but was also found in China, Formosa, Lichu Islands, where it grew wild. It was refered to in the oldest Japanese gardening book which was published in 1681 and a drawing of the lily can be found in another old gardening book published in 1719.

The Easter Lily, was found in England as early as 1819, but became a popular flower in 1895. The bulbs were exported to England from Bermuda, which was the first commercial center of Easter Lily bulb production outside of Japan.

The first Bermuda Lily was brought to Bermuda from Japan in 1853 by a missionary who gave it to a friend in St. George who later marketed it. The Bermuda Lily was introduced to America in 1880. Due to disease and economic conditions, by 1935 the main exporter of the lily to the U.S. was Japan.

The Easter Lily bulbs were called ~White Gold.~ The lily is mentioned in the Bible. Often called the ~white-robed apostles of hope~ lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's crucifixtion. White lilies are said to have sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground from the cross. Traditionally, Easter Lilies are arranged in churches, during Easter, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The white lily is dedicated to Mary in most Catholic countries, and has been a symbol of purity since the 12th century. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured giving the Virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child. In other paintings, saints are shown bringing vases of white lilies to Mary and the baby Jesus. It is said that when Mary's tomb was opened to show Thomas that her body had been assumed into heaven, it was filled with these flowers. The Madonna lily was associated with the Annunciation and lilies are often depicted in scenes of the angel's visit to Mary. Roses and lilies became Mary's flowers and are associated with Easter. Lily became the emblem of the Annunciation, the white petals signifying her body and the golden anthers her soul. According to one legend when Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance and Lilies grew where her tears fell. The flower is also associated with St. Catherine, who converted her pagan father to Christianity when the previously scentless madonna lily produced wonderful perfume.

Ancient legends tell us the lily sprang from the milk of Hera, the mythological Queen of Heaven. Artists and poets felt that, the Lily was the only flower with a soul. The Easter Lily, the traditional flower of Easter, is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of beauty, hope and life.

On the island of Santorini, ceramics have been found bearing the same images of lilies that are found on the ceramics of the ancient Minoan culture of Crete. Scholars say Minoan ceramics are the remains of the famous Atlantis. An older than the Minoan culture, which disappeared 3,500 years ago, is the Hebrew word for lily, ~shusan.~

For a longer flower life, remove anthers from open flower before yellow pollen stains white petals. Gently run of pollen stains with cotton.
See* Lily

Echinacea button Echinacea
Echinacea Angustifolia L.
Common Names: ~ Sacred Plant~ (by Native Americans) ~Black Sampson~ ~Sampson Root~ ~Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower~ ~Purple Coneflower~ ~Red Sunflower~

Native to North America, Coneflower gets its common name from the arrangement of the florets of its daisy-like flowers around a prominent center or ~cone.~

Echinacea has been used by Native Americans for Medicinal purposes and now regaining importance because extracts from its roots, have been found to be effective in strengthening the immune system. More than 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea plants in W. Germany. Plains Indians are said to have used Echinacea for medicinal purposes more than any other plant group. The Sioux Indians used fresh scraped root for rabies, snakebites, and septicemia.

Edelweiss button Edelweiss
Leontopodium alpinum

Edelweiss is called the ~Queen of Alpine Flowers~ and is protected. It thrives on sunny, grass slopes, but also grows in rock fissures up to 2500 metres. Edelweiss is native to the Himalayas. Edelweiss has become the Alpine Symbol and picking Edelweiss is forbidden in the alpine and subalpine regions.

elder button Elder Flower
Sambucus nigra L.
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Common Names: ~Black Elder~ ~Common Elder~ ~Pipe Tree~ ~Bore Tree~ ~Bour Tree~(14th Century) ~Hylder~ ~Hylan Tree~ ~Tree of Doom~ ~Absolute~ ~Elder Flower Absolute~ (Sambucus canadensis)

Elder has a long history of use dating back to the 5th century BC. In Anglo-Saxon days we find the tree called ~Eldrun,~ which became ~Hyldor~ and ~Hyllantree~ in the 14th century.

Considered magical, Elder was also associated with death. The scent of an Elder plantation was held to cause death and disease. Branches of Elder were buried with the dead to protect them from evil spirits. Elder-wood was used for the whip handles of hearse drivers. Windows shaped like elder leaves were sometimes made between two slabs of a burial chamber. From the Old Stone Age to the New Stone Age times, arrowheads were made in the shapes of elder leaves.

According to Christian legend, Judas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ hung himself from an elder tree. The Cross, on which Jesus was crucified was made out of a giant elder tree.
The superstition about the Elder came from old myths of northern Europe. In Denmark, the Elder was connected with magic. Hylde-Moer, the Elder-tree Mother, lived in the tree and watched over it. If the tree was cut down and furniture made of the wood, Hylde-Moer was believed to follow and haunt the owners. In Denmark, another old belief that if one stood under an Elder tree on Midsummer Eve he/she would see the King of Fairyland ride by, attended by all his retinue. This is a Styrian tradition.

The Russians believe that Elder-trees drive away evil spirits, and the Bohemians go to it with a spell to take away fever. The Sicilians believe that sticks of its wood will kill serpents and drive away robbers, and the Serbs use a stick of Elder in their wedding ceremonies to bring good luck. In England it was thought that the Elder was never struck by lightning, and a twig of it tied into three or four knots and carried in the pocket was a charm against rheumatism. A cross made of Elder and fastened to cowhouses and stables was supposed to keep all evil from the animals. It was believed that a child in an Elder-wood cradle would fall out or be unable to sleep. It was also a British belief that a child in an Elder-wood cradle would pine away or be pinched black and blue by fairies. The English believed that burning Elder logs brought the devil into the house. Gypsies would not use the wood to kindle their camp fires and gleaners of firewood. In some of the rural Midlands, it is believed that if a child is chastised with an Elder twig, it will cease to grow.

The Elder is associated with witches, who are said to sometimes disguise themselves as Elder trees. It is said to be unlucky to break off an Elder twig. One was supposed to ask permission of the Elder tree before pruning it, and to spit three times before cutting. In the later part of the 17th century to prevent witches from entering their houses, the common people used to gather Elder leaves on the last day of April and fix them to their doors and windows. Elder trees were said to protect against evil and was grown near the entrance of the house or as a hedge. Charms were made from pieces of elder on which the sun had never shone. They were tied between two knots and hung around the neck. White elder flowers are sacred to the White Goddess at Midsummer.

Fever was cured in Bavaria by sticking an Elder twig into the ground in silence, in the belief that the fever would stick to the twig and be transferred to the person who pulled it up. It was used medicinally in ancient Egypt . Flowers from Dwarf Elders were used to make a distilled water used for cosmetic purposes. Common Elder flowers were used in the making of elder-berry wine, a remedy for colds when hot and spiced.

The Elder has strong associations with the Goddess and is often called ~Our Lady.~ The leaves, flowers and fruit of the tree are seen to represent the three phases of the Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Hag respectively. It is also one of the trees favoured by the Sidhe. In the days when it was still considered important to be on amicable terms with the Sidhe, the people always planted an Elder by their dwelling place and its care was entrusted to one person within each generation of the family to ensure that it was never neglected, so incurring the wrath of the Sidhe. In this day, because of this, the Elder can always be found near human habitation.

The tree has a narcotic smell, and it is not wise to sleep under its shade. Its uses are manifold and important. The wood of old trees is white and of a fine, close grain, easily cut, hence it was used for making a number of things.

The fresh leaves can be used in compresses applied to surface wounds. Elder Flowers and Elder Berries have been used in the English homes for making drinks and preserves. The flowers are used for making wine and also for colds and other respiratory infections. Elder Flower water is still used in pharmacy for eye and skin lotions. The berries have a laxative and diuretic effect. The green juice from the inner bark of the Elder applied to the eyes was often used to give someone the power to ~see.~ Egyptians discovered that applying elder flowers improved the complexion and healed burns.

pennyroyal button English Pennyroyal
Mentha pulegium
Family: Labiatae
Common Names: ~Flea Mint~

Native to southern Europe and western Asia, Pennyroyal is a member of the mint family, with lilac colored flowers on upright stems.

According to Christian legend, this perennial herb was said to have been placed in the manger on the night of the Christ's birth and burst into bloom the moment the child was born.

Traditionally used for insect repellants, especially gnats, fleas and mosquitos. Many of its active ingredients are poisonous and can be toxic if ingested. English pennyroyal adds a fragrant aroma to wreaths and used in potpourri and cosmetics.

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Copyright Pinkie D'Cruz 1998
Friday, January 16, 1998


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