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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Yellow Spring Flowers

DSCN5747-2    DSCN5749-2

While the Pasque flower (see yesterday’s post) seems to prefer a dry meadow, these two like  damp ground. I found them both growing close by the river, downstream from the mill.




Lesser Celandine – Ranunculus ficaria  – Svalört

Celandine comes from the Latin chelidonia, meaning “of the swallow”. It was said that the flowers bloomed when the swallows returned and faded when they left. The Swedish name, “svalört”,  also literally translates “Swallow Herb”. The plant had medicinal uses in the past. The early leaves are high in Vitamin C.  Ranunculus is Late Latin for "little frog”.



Marsh-marigold – Caltha palustris - Kabbeleka

From the Wikipedia article I learn that this flower has a lot of different names in the UK: Kingcup, Mayflower, May blob, Water blob, Water bubble… In the US it is sometimes called Cowslip. But in the UK, Cowslip refers to the flower below, which I found growing in the meadow:



Cowslip – Primula veris – Gullviva

Cowslip seems to me a mundane name compared to the Swedish one (“golden flower”).
Among other English names for it I find Our Lady’s Keys or Keys of Heaven. In Swedish too this flower has been called by similar names (Jungfru Marie Nycklar = “Keys of the Virgin Mary”).

I’m learning (or re-learning) a lot by blogging…!


AnnA said...

Ja, våren är mycket i gula, ljusa färger. En härlig tid!
Ha en skön dag!

Ginny said...

The cowslip is lovely! I love all these colorful names you found. Keys Of Heaven is a lovely name indeed, Keys Of the Virgin Mary just plain strange. People talk about cowslip, but I've never seen a real one. I think they only grow near the woods around here. I would love to know how they came up with the name Cowslip! I love learning all this stuff, great post!!

Sandra said...

yellow flowers say happy to me. I like all of these, expecially the little tiny ones. the leaves are beautiful on the cowslip. isnt it amazing how many names there are for each and every flower? and all us bloggers are learning more every day, great info here.

DawnTreader said...

Ginny, "Keys of the Virgin Mary" (or "Our Lady") may sound strange, but the meaning is the same as "Keys of Heaven". Before the Reformation (16th century), we were a Catholic country; and the Primula veris is an old plant. Yet another Swedish name for it is "Keys of St Peter" (Sw: St Per), referring to Jesus giving Peter "the keys to the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 16:19)

DawnTreader said...

I've also been wondering about the origin of the English name "cowslip" - didn't even have a clule if it wass supposed to be 'cow's lip' or 'cow slip'. Ginny helped me google further and we found this:

Author: William Thomas Fernie (UK) - Year 1897


Our English pastures and meadows, especially where the soil is of
blue lias clay, become brilliantly gay, "with gaudy cowslips drest,"
quite early in the spring. But it is a mistake to suppose that these
flowers are a favourite food with cows, who, in fact, never eat
them if they can help it. The name Cowslip is really derived, says
Dr. Prior, from the Flemish words, kous loppe, meaning "hose
flap," a humble part of woollen nether garments. But Skeat thinks
it arose from the fact that the plant was supposed to spring up
where a patch of cow dung had fallen.

Prior? Skeat? Hose flap?
The mystery deepens...

Read W.T. Fernie's full text at

My other blog: The Island of the Voices


Awards given to DawnTreader's Picture Book

Over-the-Top Award from NPT @ The Nature..., 3 November 2009.
More info at The Island of the Voices.

'Blog of the Week' from Brett @ 365 to 42, 9 November 2009.

From Scriptor Senex @ Rambles From My Chair, 22 November 2009

About Me - DawnTreader

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Västergötland, Sweden
(March 2011) PLEASE NOTE that my two main blogs have been moved and continue here: Beyond the Lone Islands and here: DawnTreader's Picture Book 2

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