19 July 2012

Helen's tears

I posted about a mystery wildflower three years ago - at the time it had finished flowering and its dried up seed heads weren't very helpful in making a firm identification, although one of the commenters at the time did suggest it might be an Inula.

And he was quite right - I've noticed some more of these plants growing in the woods this year and now they are flowering:

It's Inula helenium, not a native wildflower at all, but a naturalised plant from the old world, used for various medicinal purposes and in the production of absinthe, according to Wikipedia. Its common name is Elecampane (also Elf-wort). The 'ele' part and both parts of the Latin name come from an association with Helen of Troy: one story is that the plant grew where her tears fell when she was abducted by Paris.

 I'm really pleased to have found the plant again and to have caught it in full flower this time.

1 comment:

Lisa from Iroqois said...

I'm jealous. Had some here. Probably courtesy of a passing bird. It survived moving once but didn't come back after the second move. It's like a short sunflower with big leaves.