« ZurückWeiter »
and Solomon, addressing the object of his love, says, “thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits ; camphire, with spikenard; spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon:" upon which, the object of his love, as if in an enthusiasm of delight at his speaking so of the place she lives in, beautifully exclaims, “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may come out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
Italian, amaranto, fior veluto (velvet-flower] ; maraviglie di Spagna [the Spanish wonder].-French, amaranthe; passe-velours [pass-velvet]; fleur d'amour (love-flower].- English, amaranth; flower-gentle; velvet-flower. The botanical name is derived from the Greek, and signifies unfading.
The species of Amaranth most cultivated in English gardens are the Two-coloured Amaranth, which flowers late in the autumn, with purple and crimson flowers ;the Three-coloured Amaranth, with variegated flowers, which continue to blow from June to September (Fr. fleur de jalousie, jealous-flower; in Spanish and Portuguese called papagayo, the parrot); " there is not,” says Millar, “ a handsomer plant than this in its full lustre;"_the Prince's-feather Amaranth (amar. hypochondriacus), which also varies in colour, and which flowers at the same time;the Spreading or Bloody Amaranth, with flowers of a red purple, blowing from June to September;—the Pendulous Amaranth, or Love-lies-bleeding, (Fr. discipline des religieuses, the nuns’ whipping rope), with flowers of a red purple, blowing in August and September;—the Cock's comb, or Crested Amaranth [Celosia in pentandria monogynia), of which the flowers are red, purple, white, yellow, or variegated, flowering in July and August;—and the Globe Amaranth [Gomphrena in pentandria digynia ; but, like Celosia, still belonging to the same natural family of Amaranthaceæ], of which there are several varieties, white, purple, striped, &c. The purple resembles clover raised to an intense pitch of colour, and sprinkled with grains of gold. The flowers, gathered when full grown, and
, dried in the shade, will preserve their beauty for years, particularly if they are not exposed to the sun. A friend of the writer's possesses some Amaranths, both purple and yellow, which he has had by him for several years, enclosed with some locks of hair in a little marble urn. They look as vivid as if they were put in yesterday; and it may be added, that they are particularly suited to their situation. They remind us of Milton's use of the Amaranth, when speaking of the multitude of angels assembled before the Deity:
" to the ground
Bind their resplendent locks enwreathed with beams;
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled." The following occurs in Shelley's Rosalind and Helen: " Whose sad inhabitants each year would come,
With willing steps climbing that rugged height;
Of one friend left, adorned that frozen tomb." In Portugal, and other warm countries, the churches are, in winter, adorned with the Globe Amaranth. Cowley and Rapin, in their Latin poems on plants and gardens, make honourable mention of the Amaranth; but the translations of those poems are too unworthy of their originals to admit of quotation, and a friend who would have supplied me with better is on a distant journey.
The Cock's comb Amaranth is a very showy and remarkable plant. The appellation was given it from the form of its crested head of flowers resembling the comb of a cock. Sometimes the heads are divided like a plume of feathers. It is said that in Japan these crests or heads of flowers are often a foot in length and in breadth, and extremely beautiful. The colour of the scarlet varieties is highly brilliant
The Amaranths are all annual, must be raised in a hotbed, and may be had from a nursery when strong enough to bear removal, which, for the last three kinds, will not be earlier than the middle of June: the others may be placed abroad earlier. In dry weather they should be watered every evening. Such flowers as are intended to be preserved should be cut before they run to seed; and should be observed daily after they are blown, that they may be taken in full beauty.
The Amaranth is recommended, among other flowers, as a food for bees:
« Il timo e l'amaranto
LE API DEL RUCELLAI.
Moore speaks of them as being used for the hair, a purpose for which they are peculiarly well adapted :
“ Amaranths such as crown the maids
That wander through Zamara's shades From a passage in Don Quixote one may suppose
that Amaranths were sometimes worn by the Spanish ladies in the time of Cervantes; but the chief value of such passages consists in showing us the probable taste of the author. It is where he speaks of a set of ladies and gentlemen who were amusing themselves by playing shepherds and shepherdesses in the woods, and who had hung some green nets across the trees. And as he (Don Quixote) was going to pass forward and break through all (he took it for the work of enchanters) “ unexpectedly from among some trees two most beautiful shepherdesses presented themselves before him: at least they were clad like shepherdesses, except that their waistcoats and petticoats were of fine brocade, their habits were of rich gold tabby, their hair, which for brightness might come in competition with the rays of the sun, hanging loose about their shoulders, and their heads crowned with garlands of green laurel and red flower-gentles interwoven." The delicate and sunny-coloured bay leaves of the south, and the red or
* “ The people of the Batta country, in Sumatra, or Zamara, when not engaged in war, lead an idle inactive life, passing the day in playing on a kind of flute, crowned with garlands of flowers, among which the Globe Amaranth, a native of the country, mostly prevails.”
purple Amaranth, interwoven, would make a beautiful mixture, especially as the Amaranth is deficient in leaves.
One of the most popular species of the Amaranth is the Love-lies-bleeding. The origin of this name is not generally known; unless we are to suppose it christened by the daughter of O'Connor, in her tender lamentations over the tomb of Connocht Moran:
“ A hero's bride! this desert bower,
It ill befits thy gentle breeding :
To call—my love-lies bleeding?
A hero's blood supplied its bloom :
That grew on Connocht-Moran's tomb." The Amaranths are chiefly natives of America, and very few are supposed to grow naturally in Europe; yet Sir W. Jones speaks of them as if growing wild in Wales: “ Fair Tivy, how sweet are thy waves gently flowing,
Thy wild oaken woods, and green eglantine bowers,
While friendship and mirth claim their labourless hours !"
Marsh cistus; wild rosemary; poley-mountain; moon-wort; marsh
This plant was named by Linnæus, from the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiope, who was exposed at the waterside, and rescued from the sea-monster by Perseus. Thus a name in botany, especially in the works of this great and illustrious naturalist, is often made to tell two stories that of its classical prototype and of its own nature.
The Marsh Andromeda, which is a native of America and many parts of Europe, is also a plant of our own;