Gods in the Garden

Published on December 30th 2018
Plants’ botanical names can tell us a lot about them, but some are simply named after a Greek or Roman deity or mythological character. Have a look at these plants below and see if you have a god in your garden or greenhouse:
  • Hebe: popular, versatile garden shrub and Greek goddess of youth
  • Zephyranthes (Rain lily): pink or white bulbous flower and Greek god of the west wind (Zephyrus)
  • Atropa (deadly nightshade): poisonous wildflower named after the Fate which cut the thread of life (Atropos)
  • Asclepius (milkweed): American herbaceous perennial and Greek god of medicine
  • Anemone (windflowers): herbaceous and tuberous perennials in the buttercup family and collective name for the wind gods of Greek mythology (Anemoi)
  • Dionaea (Venus flytrap): a remarkable carnivorous plant whose name features the goddess of love in both its Roman form (Venus) and Greek form “daughter of Dione” i.e. Aphrodite.
  • Adonis (pheasant’s eye): plants in the buttercup family with stunning flowers and also the mortal lover of Aphrodite
  • Hesperanthera: a group of African lilies in the iris family and also the evening star in Greek mythology (Hesperus)
  • Dionysia: delicate-looking alpine flowers in the primrose family and the Greek god of wine (Dionysus)
  • Hemerocallis (day lily): herbaceous plant grown for its ephemeral flowers, which only last a day and the Greek personification of day was Hemera.
  • Andromeda (bog rosemary): low-growing shrubs in the heather family and also the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia (who also lends her name to a sister plant in the same family) who was rescued by Perseus.
  • Heracleum (hogweed): Giant hogweed (H.mantegazzianum) is a well-known pest species that has blistering sap. It is named after Heracles (Roman: Hercules).

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