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Narcissus button Narcissus spp.
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Common Names: ~Daffodi~ ~Jonquil~

Daffodil, Narcissus and Jonquil were once separate flowers. Interbreeding and hybridizing produced more than 5,000 varieties, placed in 11 main categories. ~Daffodil sap contains sharp crystals that prevent animals from eating the flower.~

The name, ~narcissus~ comes from a Greek word meaning ~to numb.~ It was given this name because if one is enclosed in a small space with the flower, the scent will induce a headache.

The first flower of spring is narcissus, and their presence declares that winter is on its way out and that spring has returned.
*See Daffodil
*See Jonquil

Nasturtium button Nasturtiums
Tropaeolum majus
Family: Tropaeolaceae (Nasturtium Family)
Common Names: ~Nasties~ ~Indian Cress~

Nasturtiums are native to South America. They were brought to Spain in the 1500's. Introduced into Europe by the Spanish, they became popular and grew in the royal gardens of France and later in America at Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home, Monetcello. The genus name comes from the Latin ~Nasus tortus~ meaning ~convulsed nose~ referring to the ~faces people made when tasting the spicy plant.~

The original plants grown by the Quechua Indians had yellow flowers, but breeding has yielded different varieties.

Nasturtiums are long-lasting and popular in the kitchen. Used in salads, vinegars etc., the flowers and the leaves have a sweet, peppery taste. It is for its tangy taste that nasturtium gets its common name. During World War II, dried ground nasturtium seeds were used as a substitute for black peeper, which was unattainable.

Sun and heat tend to make the ~pepper~ taste in the nasturtiums, more spicey. Flowers planted in the shade or semi-shade have a milder tang.

The Indians of Peru used the leaves as a tea to treat coughs, colds and the flu, as well as menstrual and respiratory problems. Being high in vitamin C, nasturtiums act as a natural antibiotic, and as such were used topically as a poultice for minor cuts and scratches. Nasturtiums are also used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves are rubbed on the gums to stimulate and cleanse them. Early English herbalists referred to nasturtiums as ~Indian Cress.~

In the language of flowers Nasturtiums signify Patriotism.

Nerine button Nerine
Nerine bowdenii
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Common Names: ~Guernsey Lily~ ~Spider Lily~ ~Cape Flower~ ~Japanese Spider Lily~ ~Jersey Lily~

Nerine is a genus of the Amaryllis family from South Africa with about 30 species. Nerine is from the Latin word meaning ~sea nymph,~ after the Nereids in Greek mythology. The Nereids were sea nymphs, daughters of the sea god Nereus, known as ~The Old Man of the Sea.~

This plant was first discovered on the Channel Island of Guernsey, where bulbs from the wreck of a Dutch ship were thought to have washed ashore in 1659. This is how it got its popular name, ~Guernsey Lily.~

~Nerine bowdenii,~ is the best known variety and is sometimes called the ~Jersey Lily ~ after actress Lily Langtry.

Vase life 10 to 14 days.

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Copyright Pinkie D'Cruz 1998

Friday, January 16, 1998


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