Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black


A-Z challenge

Z is for Zinnia


Z is for Zinnia

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Zinnia belongs to the daisy family. The annual is named in honor of 18th century German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn. The flower attracts hummingbirds and defends against whiteflies, making it a companion plant for crops. Spa products sometimes contain zinnia.

Zinnia is the flower of thoughtfulness and friendship. A gift of a bouquet of mixed zinnia means thoughts of an absent friend, while individual colors are assigned individual meanings, according to the language of flowers. A scarlet zinnia symbolizes constancy, a yellow zinnia means daily remembrance, and a white zinnia represents goodness.

To many Southwestern Native American tribes, zinnia flowers and leaves serve as ritual herbs and medicine. It is one of the sacred plants of the Navajo tribe, and to the Pueblos, zinnia’s a symbol of wisdom and fed to children to inspire intellect. Their blooms create bright dyes and paints.

The name Zinnia has grown in popularity since the late 1960’s, and it has made appearance in many literary works. Zinnia Wormwood is the backward-thinking mother from “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. Jayne Castle released a “St. Helen’s” book titled “Zinnia” with a lead named Zinnia Sprint. Cicely Mary Barker’s “Zinnia’s Magical Adventure” follows the adventures of an inquisitive flower fairy, and Monica Wellington’s “Zinnia’s Flower Garden” presents a girl’s desire to create a perfect garden. Danielle Davis has a middle grade fiction book titled “Zinnia and the Bees” slated to be published in August, 2017.

Zinnia is a plucky flower prolific in Mexico. However, it has a wandering spirit, establishing itself throughout the southwestern US and South America. In early 2016, NASA announced the blooming of a zinnia on the International Space Station, which was the first flower to grow in outer space.


Y is for Yarrow


Y is for Yarrow

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Yarrow, was once used to cure everything from hair loss prevention and toothache reliever and blood stancher to snakebite cure and cold medicine. The often-invasive perennial blooms from May through June and sometimes again until autumn. It is used in food or tea, especially during the 17th century. During the middle ages in Europe, yarrow was an ingredient on gruit, a beer flavoring. Even today, the leaves and flowers of yarrow are used to make some liquors and bitters.

When planted in a garden, yarrow repels some insects and attracts good ones such as ladybugs. Yarrow repels insects when applied to the skin and clothing. Carrying yarrow granted bravery, reversed negativity, and protects from harm and hexes. Throwing yarrow flowers across a threshold protects a house from evil.

It is a symbol of good luck in China where the plant is used during divination. Rubbing a yarrow leaf against the eyelids was believed to grant “second sight.” Native North Americans used the plant medicinally. Hanging a bundle of dried yarrow over a bridal bed ensured lasting love. The Anglo-Saxons of the early middle ages wore yarrow amulets to protect against blindness, robbers, and dog attacks. It was tied to an infant’s cradle to protect against changelings and witches. Sleeping atop yarrow sachets caused dreams of true love. Yarrow is an ingredient in incense for divination and love spells.

It is called plumajillo (Spanish for little feather) in New Mexico and Colorado. It is also called gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, seven-year’s-love, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand seal. The genus name Achillea reportedly honors the ancient Greek hero Achilles who carried the plant to treat his army’s wounds.

In 1989, Ace Books published Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy novel called “Yarrow” wherein a fantasy writer visits a magic world in her dreams, but a supernatural predator seeks to feed on her imaginings and destroy the magical world.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow included the plant in his “Hiawatha’s Lamentation,” as did Sir Walter Scott in his “The Lady of the Lake.” William Wordsworth wrote the poems “Yarrow Visited” and “Yarrow Unvisited.” Walter Elliot wrote “A Song for Yarrow,” which includes the lines, “An ancient minstrel, so they tell, did sing the song of yarrow well. Faint echoes of his songs yet last to tell the tale of yarrow’s past.”


X is for X’d Out, or Plant Poisons


X is for X’d Out, or Plant Poisons

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

In “The Botanic Garden,” Erasmus Darwin asserted that plants “possess ideas of many of the properties of the external world and of their own existence.” This grandfather of Charles Darwin considered plants as more than passive. Indeed, observation of plants proves this as true.

To protect themselves, plants developed defenses. Although plants can’t flee from a potential threat, the Mimosa closes its leaves when touched. Several plants grow thorns, spines, or prickles. Stinging nettles and other plants grow “fur” bristling with trichome-bearing poisons. Some tropical nettles can cause permanent nerve damage or death. Urushiol is a toxic oil found in poison ivy and oak cause skin irritations. The subtropical houseplant dieffenbachia shoots calcium oxalate crystal-rich idioblasts and an enzyme into the mouths of predators, which can cause paralysis of the tongue. Some plants house aggressive ants that defend their homes. Some plants warn their community of impending crises by releasing volatile organic compounds.

Of course, humans have used plant poisons for their own nefarious purposes.

Back in “the day,” children were fed castor oil to benefit their health. Lucky for these souls, they only had to endure the oil’s dreadful taste. The manufacturers of the oil removed the lethal component of the castor bean, ricin. Ingesting one castor bean can kill an adult within an hour. In the television series “Breaking Bad,” Walter White tries to use castor beans to eliminate enemies.

J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series mentions many plant references, including “wolf’s bane” or monkshood. Ovid’s “Metamorphosis” describes the herb as coming from the mouths of Cerberus, Hades’ three-headed guard dog. In Greek myths, the goddess Hecate invented the poison contained in wolf’s bane, and Athena used it to transform the cloth-worker Arachne into a spider. Medea tried to poison Theseus with wine laced with the plant. William Shakespeare mentioned the poison in “Henry IV.” Elllis Peters’ “Cadfael Chronicles” and the “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” used the plant to murder, and in James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” it is used for a suicide. Symptoms of aconite poison which come from the plant include frothy saliva, impaired vision, vertigo, and coma. Other names for the plant include blue rocket and devil’s helmet, and its flowers, when held beneath a person’s chin, could out a disguised werewolf by tinging the person’s chin with yellow.

While working in medicine dispensaries during the first World War, crime novelist Agatha Christie conceived of her detective stories. She said, “Since I was surrounded by poison, perhaps it was natural that death by poisoning should be the method I selected.” Her writings often included poisons.

Angel’s Trumpet sounds sweet, but one of its aliases might better describe its poisonous nature. Devil’s snare, Jimson weed, stink weed, and loco weed causes hallucinations, convulsions, and in some cases, death. Its active ingredients are atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. This plant is included in Vicki Lane’s “Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries.”

The Greek Socrates’ 399 BC death was the most famous Hemlock poisoning. A 1787 painting by Jacques-Louis David depicts the philosopher surrounded by students as he succumbed. All parts of the hemlock contain poison alkaloids which paralyze. According to the USDA, water hemlock is the “most violently toxic plant in North America.” Ingesting as few as eight leaves is fatal, with death beginning as paralysis and ending ultimately with shut-down of the respiratory system.

In Tim Burton’s stop-action animation “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Sally poisons her creator with deadly nightshade-laced soup. Although all parts of the flowering plant, also called belladonna, are poisonous, the black berries contain the most atropine. Women used to put belladonna drops into their eyes to improve their beauty. Legend holds that Locusta used nightshade to kill the Roman emperor Claudius, and before he ascended to the throne, Macbeth used nightshade to poison an invading Danish army.

Cleopatra forced her servants to ingest seeds from the strychnine tree to watch their reaction to the poison. Since she did not relish the obvious agony, vomiting, facial contortions, and convulsions caused by the toxins strychnine and brucine on her women, Cleopatra ended her own life with an asp bite instead.

The 1979 gothic V.C. Andrews novel “Flowers in the Attic” and the comedic Jimmie Stewart movie “Arsenic and Old Lace” use the “king of poisons,” arsenic. Arsenic is an element which can eek into vegetables, fruits, and rice. The infamous Borgia family from the Renaissance served troublesome guests wine enhanced with a bit of arsenic. Since it is an element, arsenic does not disappear. Traces of it can be found in poisoning victims’ fingernails, hair, liver, and kidneys.

Poisoned arrows and blow gun darts enhance the effectiveness of relatively primitive weapons. In South Africa, people use the milky sap of the bushman’s poison plant, and in South America, tribesmen use curare which includes chondrodendron tomentosum.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch tells a turbulent coming-of-age story of young Astrid whose beautiful poet mother poisons a cheating lover. All parts of the flowering shrub are deadly, including smoke from the burning plant. Like digitalis or foxglove, oleander is a cardiac stimulator and causes sweating, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, unconsciousness, respiratory paralysis, and death. Rhododendrons and azaleas are other poisonous flowering shrubs. Honey made from these plants can be deadly.

Also, many types of mushrooms are toxic. Once ingested, a poisonous mushroom produces degenerative effects on the liver, kidneys, and heart. Symptoms such as stomach pains, vomiting, intense thirst, and bloody diarrhea do not appear for as long as forty-eight hours.

Magister Santes de Ardoynis published “The Book of Venoms” in 1424. Chroniclers of Queen Elizabeth I mention two attempted poisonings during her reign. Many plant poisons do not affect other animals, but historically and in literature, they leave an indelible impression.

W is for Wormwood


W is for Wormwood

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

C.S. Lewis in “The Screwtape Letters” warns, “Be not deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks around upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” Wormwood here is not a plant, but instead a young demon learning from his wiser Uncle Screwtape, an established denizen of Hell.

The Bible mentions wormwood. In the Old Testament, it is mentioned seven times, all with reference to a bitterness or curse. In the New Testament, Wormwood is an angel or star who falls into the waters of earth at the sounding of Revelation’s third trumpet. “A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died …” Of course, biblical interpreters attribute greatly varied historical, allegorical, and metaphorical meanings to the wormwood passages.

Although there are many members of the plant family, one incarnation of wormwood is Artemisia absinthium which is a key ingredient of the fabled “green fairy” drink, Absinthe. Wormwood is a perennial shrub with aromatic leaves and bitter flavor. It produces yellow to green blooms from July to August. In Caribbean folk medicine, wormwood treats menstrual complaints. It is ingested by some Hoodoo practitioners hoping for visions. It can be carried as part of a protection spell, and if burned on charcoal, it summons helpful spirits.

Dioscorides claimed wormwood protected drinkers from intoxication and a remedy for excessive consumption. It odorific leaves kept moths from clothing during ancient times. “Wormwood voideth away the wormes of the guts…it quickly refresheth the stomack and belly after large eating and drinking…” advised John Gerard in his “Herball” from 1597. Today, wormwood is commercially available as a capsule, tincture, and essential oil, but it is classified as an UNSAFE HERB by the US Food and Drug Administration. The safety of wormwood is poorly documented despite its long history as a food additive, and results from clinical trials are few. Wormwood, also known as should not be given to pregnant or lactating women, as it is a documented abortifacient and emmenagogue. Use of wormwood is linked to convulsions, dermatitis, and renal failure. Experiments in Germany use wormwood in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease.

In Anne Bronte’s “If This be All,” she mentions wormwood, “…while all the good I would impart, the feelings I would share, are driven backward to my heart, and turned to wormwood there…” Wormwood is the name of a Canadian/Australian children’s television show from 2007-2008, a 2004 comic by Ben Templesmith, and an Avatar Press 2006-2007 comic book mini-series by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows. The protagonist in Roald Dahl’s children’s book “Matilda” bore the last name Wormwood, as did the overbearing teacher from Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes.” Clive Barker’s “Abarat” books included the Wormwood Deathship. Poppy Z. Brite and Terry Dowling published books of short stories titled Wormwood, and Graham Taylor and Marie Corelli authored novels with the title. Any songs and albums also bear the name, and the final passage of Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” includes a reading from the Book of Revelations including the Wormwood mention.

Steven King includes wormwood in several of his writings, including his novels “Carrie,” the “Cell,” “Under the Dome,” “The Mist,” and “The Dark Tower, Gunslinger.” It is also a component in his short story “Home Delivery.” Wormwood is an asteroid in the “Christ Clone Trilogy” by James Beau Seigneur, a meteor in “The Light of Other Days” by Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter, and a comet in the “Shadowmancer” series by G. P. Taylor. In the TV series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” wormwood is a missile. In “The Sarah Jane Adventures” it is an alien intent on poisoning earth’s waters, and in “Dexter” it is a chemical weapon.


V is for Violet


V is for Violet

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Aristophanes referred to Athens as “the violet-crowned city,” and the bloom represents Greece. Pliny described violet’s use in curing gout.

In Medieval times, people called sweet violet “our lady’s modesty” and symbolized humility.  John Gerard in his 1536 “Of the Historie of Plants” said, “Gardens themselves receive by these (violets) the greatest ornament of all, chiefest beauty and most excellent grace, and the recreation of the minde which I taken hereby cannot be but very good and honest…” It was used medicinally in Europe for such ailments as inflammations, heart disease, fevers, and scorpion stings. Violet is known as banafsa, banafsha, or banaska in India where it is used as a sore throat treatment.

A sonnet from 1584 by Malone reads, “Violet is for faithfulnesse…” Violet’s meanings changed over the years. It tendency to wilt gave it the reputation for delicacy. Its royal coloring meant nobility. To dream of violets means good fortune awaits, and the flower is the image of daydreams. It Is believed to raise intuition and invoke spiritual thoughts.

Violet is the birth flower for February. Violet given to a friend conveys admiration, and violet commemorates a couple’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. Because of its association with death and the resurrection, it is often presented at funerals as well. Shelley used violet to commemorate the departed in his poem “On a Faded Violet,” saying, “The odor from the flower is gone, which like thy kisses breathed on me. The flower from the flower is flown, which glowed of thee and only thee…”

William Shakespeare used the image of the violet eighteen times in his writings, associating it with beauty and sweetness, and to him, it seemed to symbolize sweetness. In “Hamlet,” Laertes said at his sister Ophelia’s funeral, “Lay her I’ the earth, and from her fair and unpolluted flesh may violets spring!”

Much like Persephone gathering flowers, an English maid named Violet attracted the attention of a powerful supernatural male. King Frost abducted her, and the girl’s gentle nature warmed the cruel king, and like the Greek personification of Spring, Violet returned to her home for but a short time each year.

Flowers appear as early as February and last through April. They volunteer in lawns and proliferate in shady clearings. Longfellow said of the violet it “…lurk(s) among all the lovely children of the shade.”

In an account from the seventeenth century by Russian traveler Gmelin, Tartars ate the roots of violets cooked into a thick soup. Victorians candied violets for breath mints and garnishes. They incorporated violet’s delicate scent into powders, sachets, and toilet waters. Carrying violet flowers attracts good luck, and sleeping atop the blooms enhances prophetic dreams. Harvesting the first violets of the season grants wishes, and the heart-shaped leaves of the violet absorb evil and ill-will.

Enthusiasts of the flower join the American Violet Society. Musical Theatre International adapted Doris Betts’ 1973 short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” in the musical “Violet.” The name Violet remains popular for young ladies. Violet is one of three main protagonists in the Lemony Snicket “Series of Unfortunate Events.”


U is for Uvularia


U is for Uvularia

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

“We are happier in many ways when we are old than when we were young. The young sow wild oats. The old grow sage,” said Winston Churchill.

Wild oats belong to the Uvularia genus. Their drooping bell-shaped flowers lend the nick-names “Merry Bells,” “Bellflowers,” and “Bellwort.” Of course, Mr. Churchill did not intend his phrase literally. Nor did Fred A. Allen when he said, “Most of us spend the first six days of each week sowing wild oats. Then we go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.” The idiom “sow your wild oats” refers to the youthful exploration of excitement, particularly in sexual relationships.

Other usages of the plant in literature include Charlotte M. Yonge’s “The Life of a Spinster,” Augustus de Morgan’s “A Budget of Paradoxes,” William James’ “The Will to Believe,” James A. Moss’ “Manual of Military Training,” Margaret Hill McCarter’s “Winning the Wilderness,” Will Irwin’s “The Readjustment,” Stanley Portal Hyatt’s “People of Position,” and George Meredith’s “The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox has a poem called “Wild Oats,” and the phrase figures into poems by T.W. Connor and Robert W. Service. John Gneisenau Neihardt refers to the plant in a literal sense.

Uvalaria are related to the lily. They produce yellow, down-facing flowers between April and May. New Age participants use the plant to help with centering and focus, particularly for those with depression, lack of energy, and learning disabilities.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote in a letter to his children, “The May flowers and bloodroot have gone, the anemonies and bellwort have come and the violets are coming.”


T is for Thyme


T is for Thyme

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Cooks have long valued thyme as a flavorful recipe addition and for its preservative qualities. It grows low to the ground and produces flavors ranging from lemon to herbal. All three hundred varieties produce flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

During Medieval times, forms of thyme were known as “Our Lady’s Bedstraw.” John Fletcher’s “Two Noble Kinsmen” mentions, “…daisies smell less, yet most quaint, and sweet thyme true…” Lord Bacon, the first acknowledged English essayist, devoted an essay to gardening, saying, “…burnet, wilde-thyme, and water mints, therefore, are set whole allies to have the pleasure when walked or tread upon…” Elizabethans used thyme to treat head and heart disorders and to settle nervous complaints. Gerard recommends thyme-infused wine for stomach complaints.

To ancient Greeks, thyme can mean “courage” and “to fumigate.” Through the centuries, it acted as a remedy for epilepsy and melancholy, worms and lice. Roman soldiers bathed in thyme to impart courage before battle. Virgil claimed thyme combats fatigue. Ancient Egyptians used thyme to help preserve dead bodies. This association with death continued in Europe where the herb grew to mask odors. The Welsh believe spirits smell of thyme, and folk belief declares the spirits of the recently departed inhabit thyme flowers. Bringing thyme plants into the house welcomes illness. Some gardeners set aside a patch of thyme for the fairy folk since they love the plant.

Thyme, with rosemary, sage, and lavender, is an ingredient in Four Thieves Vinegar, a medieval deterrent of the plague. Thyme is a source for Serpolet oil, an herbal aphrodisiac. As with many herbs, thyme can be dried and burned as a purifier, and inhaling the scent enhances psychic powers, renews energy, and banishes evil. When carried on a person, thyme inspires courage, attracts good health, and protects from negativity. Thus it is a recommended corsage or tucked into a pocket for funerals or other unpleasant occasions. Thyme can also be crafted into a sachet. Thyme can also be added to a bath or placed in a pillow to promote restful, nightmare-free dreams.

The middle Grade novel “Counting Thyme” by Melanie Conklin explores the complicated life of Thyme Owens and her family’s struggles with cancer. A Brian Eastman British television murder mystery series called “Rosemary and Thyme” ran for three seasons from 2003 until 2007. Thomas McCarthy wrote “The Rarest Thyme,” wherein “For you I would have built an herb-garden, not a pathetic patch for mint and chives, but a real olitory, with old-fashioned southernwood and rarest thyme…” “Dear Dark Head” by Padraic Colum waxes romantic with “Oh, mouth of honey, with the thyme for fragrance, who with heart in breast could deny you love?”

thyme fairy

S is for Sage


S is for Sage

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

A sage is a person with great wisdom, and in traditional Celtic lore, the plant signifies wisdom. The latin name for sage, salvia, means “to heal.” According to old-time herbalists, people who drink the plant sage as a tea never grow old. “Why would a man die if sage grows in his garden?”

Hieroglyphic records indicate the ancient Egyptians used sage to promote fertility. Pliny the Elder noted its medicinal properties, and picking the plant required a ceremony with special clothing and tools. However, the Greeks and the Romans differed in their beliefs regarding the plant. Romans associated it with Jupiter and domesticity, while in the Greek belief system, the Satyrs and their love of debauchery claimed sage as their own.

The Aztecs used the leaves and seeds for food, medicine, and to produce a face paint used to denote societal rank. During the Middle Ages in Europe, cooks and doctors used sage. It has a slight peppery flavor. During the Carolingian Empire of the early middle ages, monasteries cultivated sages in their gardens. Poet Walafrid Strabo described it in “Hortulus.” Sage was one of four main ingredients in “Four Thieves Vinegar” which was taken to ward off plague. Perhaps because of its protective qualities, another name for sage at this time was “Mary’s Shawl.” Other names include Sage the Saviour, Salfia, Saluie, and Sawage. In Shakespeare’s time, sage signified “solemn, grave, and dignified.”

Native American shaman dry bundles of sage into smudge sticks and burn them to purify spaces and ward off evil spirits, a practice imitated today by new age practitioners. Sage is also crafted into brooms used to cleanse spaces of negativity. Mountain folk beliefs state if sage thrives in a garden, a woman rules her household and her husband well. In China, the first mentions of sage occur around 206 BC where sage imparted physical strength and wisdom to those who consumed it.

Sage acts as a drying agent, clearing mucous, relieving night sweats, and soothing sore throats. Because of its antiseptic properties, it is used to treat wounds, including snake bites. In Banckes’ “Herbal,” sage is “good for venom or poison,” and it soothed nerves, quieted palsied muscles, and improved digestion. To this day, besides it extensive use in the kitchen, sage flavors wine, cheese, chocolate, and baked goods, and its oil is added to perfumes and cosmetics. Sage is even used as a name for children in the US.


R is for Rosemary


R is for Rosemary

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

An English/Scottish ballad dating back as far as the late sixteen hundreds asks a haunting question and presents impossible tasks for a former lover. “Are you going to Scarborough Fair?” Simon and Garfunkel presented their take on the song in the 1960’s. “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme…” The references to the herbs probably dates to later adaptations of the song.

Rosmarinus officinalis belongs to the mint family, and its Latin name translates into “Dew of the Sea.” Evergreen and aromatic, rosemary produces tiny white, blue, or pink flowers. The perennial shrub’s needles make pungent additions to recipes and cooks often pair it with lamb. It is incorporated into spa products and potpourri. Rosemary garlanded Christmas boar’s heads. Banckes Herbal advises “take the flowers and put them in a chest among your clothes or books, and moths shall not hurt them. Also take the flowers and made a powder thereof and bind it to thy arm in a linen cloth and it shall make thee light and merry.”

One myth tells of a tired Virgin Mary who spread her cloak over the white-flowered shrub. When she woke in the morning, the flowers turned blue in her honor, and so some say the plant is “Rose of Mary.” The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans honored the plant.

During the Middle Ages, brides wore headpieces of rosemary, and the groom and special guests wore a sprig of the plant. In medieval times, waters scented with rosemary or other ingredients served for hygiene and perfume. Wealthy folks washed their linens in boiled, scented water. Boccaccio’s “Decameron” mentions washing waters. Rosemary water taken in the morning and before bed freshened the breath.

According to Culpepper and Diocorides, rosemary helps ease tooth ache pains, liver and abdominal complaints, and is effective as a poultice for open wounds. Serapio “witnesseth that rosemarie is a remedie against the stuffing of the head, that comment through coldnesse of the braine, if a garland therof be put about the head.”

Rosemary “belongs to the sun” according to alchemy, and is under the celestial Ram. It warded off the evil eye and purged evil intentions from witchcraft. Putting rosemary needles under the pillow prevented bad dreams. Its smell restored vitality and preserved youth. Rosemary is a component in love and memory charms. “Where rosemary flourishes, women flourish.”

William Shakespeare’s Ophelia says in Hamlet, “There’s rosemary. That’s for remembrance.” He also mentions it in “The Winters Tale.” “There’s rosemary and rue. These keep seeming and savor all the winter long.” Philosopher Sir Thomas More wrote in the early 1500’s, “As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship.” Grace and remembrance be to you.” It symbolizes those lost during wars and at funerals in Europe and Australia.

Hungary Water mixes rosemary into preparation to “renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs” and treat gout. In Don Quixote, a healing balm is made of rosemary. John Skelton wrote a poem “To Mistress Isabel” saying, “…the ruddy rosary, the sovereign rosemary…” Other names for Rosmarinus Officinalis include Rosmarinus, Polar Plant, Compass-weed, Compass Plant, Incensier, and Bopen.

Hollywood filmed (and later remade) “Rosemary’s Baby,” a horror tale set in New York. Famous women named Rosemary include Rosemary Kennedy, Rosemary Clooney, and Rosemary Forsyth.


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