7 responses to “Turnera ulmifolia”

  1. george briggs

    viper’s bugloss: another very interesting common name, and it is a wonderful shade of blue as well.

    1. Bliss McIntosh

      and did you know that “bugloss” means cow tongue due to the way the points curve back just like the rough surface of a bovine tongue.?

  2. Nette

    So pretty! How big is that flower in real life?

    1. Wendy Cutler

      I just read that it’s about 2 1/2 inches, 6 cm. I don’t remember it being that big, more like 5 cm or a little less. Well, sort of pansy size.

  3. Linda Bush

    The related species Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is made into a liquer which I first tasted in Baja California. It is very good and is touted as, you guessed it, having an aphrodisiac effect.

  4. Frankie Fernandez

    In the Philippines, we call them sundrops, maybe because they have this habit of waiting for sunshine (or its warmth?) before opening up. On rainy or cloudy days, they don’t open up fully. They reseed like crazy and could really become invasive, but nonetheless a very charming plant.

  5. Pat Collins

    I realise your comment on the aphrodisiac effects was at least partly in jest but, of course, the Passionflower gets its name from the torture/murder of Jesus Christ rather than any romantic passion.

    From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    1582 N. MONARDES Simplic. Medicament. ex Novo Orbe 17 Elegans est cum fructu onusta conspicitur, propterius amplitudinem, florem habet albæ rosæ persimilem, in cuius foliis aliquæ veluti passionis Christi figuræ delineatæ conspiciuntur.]

    I can’t speak Latin but with the help of an online translator that couldn’t either and Perseus (search for Perseus Lewis Short for Latin, the Greek Lexicon is excellent, too) I would suggest this means:

    Elegant it is to see when fruit-burdened, on account of their abundance [or wide extent of the plant?], the flowers have a great similarity to the white rose[?], and in its petals [foliis means leaf but that was what petals were called then] some perceive a comparison to the shapes of the passion of Christ traced out.

    The first three quotes in English give a stepwise increase in sarcasm.

    1613 S. PURCHAS Pilgrimage VIII. ii. 616 The flower of the Granadille they say..hath the marks of the Passion, Nailes, Pillar, Whippes, Thornes, Wounds.]

    1633 T. JOHNSON Gerard’s Herball (new ed.) App. 1591 Maracoc or Passion-floure. The Spanish Friers for some imaginarie resemblances..first called it Flos Passionis.

    1689 N. TATE tr. A. Cowley 3rd Pt. Wks. IV. 92 Flos Passionia christi. The Passion-Flower, or Virginian Climber. The first of these Names was given it by the Jesuites, who pretend to find in it all the Instruments of our Lord’s Passion; not so easily discern’d by men of Senses not so fine as they.

    I find it comforting that the tradition of ridiculing the name is almost as old as the name itself.

Leave a Reply