Friday, July 22, 2011
Heartsease fairy please
A little bit of flower magic for wounded hearts, the beautiful tiny Heartsease flower. This tiny beauty has many common garden names such as Wild Pansy, Johnny Jump Ups, Viola, among many but my favorite has to be the old folklore names: Love-Lies-Bleeding, Love-In-Idleness, Cuddle-Me, Jump-Up-And-Kiss-Me, Meet-Me-In-The_entry, Kiss-Her-In-The-Buttery and the list goes on!
Some really amazing discoveries about heartsease:
* Banwort is it's original old French name (Not as pretty but charming all the same)
*The flowers have also been used to make yellow, green and blue-green dyes, and the leaves can also be used in part of some dye compositions
*The flower protects itself from rain and dew by drooping its head both at night and in wet weather, and thus the back of the flower and not its face receives the moisture
*They are hermaphrodite plants, self fertile AND are pollinated by the beloved bee
Medicinally, the pretty pansy is useful in the treatment of epilepsy, asthma, excema, skin diseases, whooping cough, and is also a diuretic. Folklore has always regarded this herb as a powerful healer of broken hearts, potent in love charms, and effective in easing any emotion to do with matters of the heart.
Shakespeare makes a more direct reference, probably to Heartsease in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oberon sends Puck to gather "a little western flower" that maidens call "Love-in-idleness". Oberon's account is that he diverted an arrow from Cupid's bow aimed at "a fair vestal, throned by the west" (supposedly Queen Elizabeth I) to fall upon the plant "before milk-white, now purple with love's wound". The "imperial vot'ress" passes on "fancy-free", destined never to fall in love. The juice of the heartsease now, claims Oberon, "on sleeping eyelids laid, Will make or man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees." Equipped with such powers, Oberon and Puck control the fates of various characters in the play to provide Shakespeare's essential dramatic and comic structure for the play.