plant lore

With an interest in plant names and their meanings as well as their native origins and possible herbal uses, I’m gathering such snippets from sources I come across. The veracity is unproven.

Corydalis – the tubular style flowers are seemingly reminiscent of a crested lark’s head since the name derives from New Latin version of Greek korudallis. It is a variant of korudos crested lark, from korus helmet, and this apparently can be construed from the appearance of the flowers!

Lamprocapnos – previously Dicentra because of its spurred appearance (Greek dí/two & kéntron/spur). Renamed from lampros/shining kapnos/smoke, which bears no resemblance to anything of this plant!
Common names include Bleeding heart (evidently relevant to the ‘Valentine’ cultivar) Dutchman’s breeches (!), lyre flower, and lady in a bath because if you turn the flower upside down and pull the petals apart, the naked lady appears.

Tropaeolum -from Greek tropaion & Latin tropaeum/trophy in reference to the shield-like leaves. Common name Nasturtium (nasus & toquere = “nose twister”) – a reference to is light, peppery smell. Some credit the Peruvians for introducing early Spanish explorers to the nasturtium. Others maintain that the edible qualities of the blossoms were well known to the ancient Persians. The plants were first brought from Peru to Spain. and from there to the rest of Europe