1st July 2014

I find the tiny-flowered Enchanters Nightshade, found commonly in damp shade and woodland, and often creeping by its stolons, into gardens, fascinating. It is one of the only flowers with two petals, and belongs to the Evening Primrose family and is not a Nightshade at all. It’s easy to miss it but once you’ve noticed it you’ll see it in flower in lots of places from June to August. It has two seeds and these are spread by hooked burrs which get caught on the fur of animals or the clothes of humans. Such a small flower with such a big name, its Latin name is Circaea

Enchanters Nightshade grows between 20 and 60 cmd in height.

Enchanters Nightshade grows between 20 and 60 cmd in height.

The tiny, unusual two-petalled flowers of Enchanters Nightshade.

The tiny, unusual two-petalled flowers of Enchanters Nightshade.

Lutetiana. It is named after the Greek enchantress, Circe, who was supposed to use this plant in her magic. Circe was the daughter of the sun and the granddaughter of the oceans, the fire and water combination giving her complex powers. It was Circe who enchanted the crew of Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey and the plant has a long history in Europe of being used to hex, bind, and to transform humans into animals. ‘Lutetiana’  comes from Lutetia, the Latin name for Paris (at one time known as Witch City!) and one of the flower’s nick-names is the Sorcerer of Paris. Enchanters Nightshade has been used to treat wounds and its pollen and nectar are attractive to small Bees and Flies, but it is just a beautiful, delicate flower, worth getting to know. Conditions: Sun and cloud with a gentle breeze. Temperature: Max 20- Min 12 C.

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