8 responses to “Chamelaucium uncinatum ‘Purple Pride’”

  1. Anne

    Ha! One problem with the cut-flower industry is the lack of use of botanical names for much of the product. I use this flower almost every day when it is in season and never knew it’s binomial.

  2. Andrea Gaynor

    Lovely to see another of our gorgeous widlflowers featured on BPOTD. Here in Perth Geraldton wax is a popular garden plant and is planted all along the main north-south highway through the city, making the drive quite something in spring!

  3. Nadia

    Excellent photo & article.

  4. arlee

    A lovely specimen and colour. Alas, usually by the time that these get to the flower shop where i am in Canada, most are dried out, dropped flowers, and desperate, so it’s nice to see it in full glory.

    I’m with Anne there too on the Latin—most wholesalers and garden centres don’t know the names anymore. Very sad.

  5. Roberta

    looks a bit like rosemary.

  6. J. Paulson

    Also noteworthy is the fragrance of the waxy leaves…a bright lemony, resinous blend

  7. Pat Collins

    I would suggest that the name Chamelaucium has nothing to do with the Greek word χαμαι which gives us the prefix chamae- or chamæ- in words like chamæleon (dwarf lion), chamaephyte (ground-hugging plants generally) and chamomile (dwarf apple). The first two species described by Desfontaines in 1819 were Chamelaucium ciliatum and Chamelaucium plumosum (now called Verticordia plumosa). Modern descriptions of these species have them as up to 1.2 metres and 1.4 metres tall, only dwarf in human terms.

    According to “A Greek-English Lexicon” by Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott (on Perseus http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0057 ) there is a word χαμελαία (transliterated this becomes “chamelaia”) which may mean Daphne oleoïdes or Daphne gnidium.

    I think the reason for the name is apparent from looking at the growing structures of Daphne gnidium and Chamelaucium.

    I am not sure where the ending could come from unless it is from the Ancient Greek word οὐκί – a word that appears to be able to mean both “yes, really” and “really not”. So perhaps used like Not! in Wayne’s World – “Daphne gnidium – Not!”.

    The spelling was already being “corrected” by other authors in 1823, just four years later. By this time René Louiche Desfontaines, the author of the genus Chamelaucium, was 73 years old. His senses were failing him and by 1830 he was near blind. He is said to have been delighted when he could recognise a plant by touch. He died in 1833.

    The authors of another work in 1832 wrote:
    “CHAMÆLAUCIUM (we suppose this name to be from χαιμαιλεύκη, an humble poplar ; but the application is unknown to us)”
    First, they added an extra iota after the first alpha. Second, Perseus has the word χαμαιλεύκη (literally dwarf-white or dwarf-“white poplar”) meaning either coltsfoot or ground-ivy. The coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, has distinctive leaves with white-flocked undersides but plain green on the topside just like the leaves of the white poplar, Populus alba.

    1. Pat Collins

      Having consulted with my pillow I have another suggestion for the ending of Chamaelaucium.

      The Ancient Greek γλαύξ/γλαυκός (glaux/glaukos) meaning little owl and blue/green/grey gives us γλαύκιον (glaukion), the juice of the horned poppy which when latinised gives us the modern genus that contains the horned poppy, Glaucium. We also get the English word glaucous meaning “of a blue/green/grey colour” from the same root.

      The Ancient Greeks had a Goddess of Growth Αὐξώ (Auxo) or Αὐξησία (Auxesia) from the verb αὐξάνω, (auxano) to grow, increase, prosper giving αὔξι (auxi, prosper!) and the modern words auxin and auction. In Latin this was usually auct-.

      So, Chamelaucium would be “grows like a Daphne gnidium”.

      While this is still a bit odd I think it is better than assuming Desfontaines meant χαμαιλεύκη (chamaeleuke) with two spelling errors and a dodgy ending. The biography I linked above stated that, though his senses were failing at the end, his mental faculties were as sharp as ever. Obviously meanings of names in taxonomy can be really wacky but even so the more appropriate meaning is suggestive.

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