Wind-flowers of young, impossibly handsome Adonis
Anemones (which means wind-flowers), also known as Adonis, are a genus of bright spring flowers in the Buttercup family. Sometimes Pulsatilla spp., or pasque-flowers, are also included among Anemones, but more recently they are considered a separate genus of Ranunculaceae (and they got a separate album!)
Both names - Anemone and Adonis - come from an ancient Greek myth about bright-red poppy anemone Anemone coronaria which has it that these scarlet flowers are droplets of blood of dying Adonis.
Adonis, the beautiful and ever-young god of ephemeral spring vegetation, came into the Greek Pantheon from the Eastern Mediterranean. The venerated locations were in Syria, Phoenicia, and Cyprus. Irresistibly handsome, Adonis was famously seduced by Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, before his untimely death, but he is reborn every spring, soon to die again. The cult of Adonis was a secret women's rite, and included planting of little rooftop flowerbeds of early spring plants. The plants soon withered and were lamented by the women, as if brought by the winds and snuffed out by the winds ... hence the other name of this red flower, the Anemone, i.e. wind-flower. Indeed the secret myth appeared to be as much about spring bloom as about waning sensual beauty. Roman Ovidius got into outsize trouble for verses about Adonis, and later Shakespeare had the Goddess of Love whisper these famous lines to Adonis:
...I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:
Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
As it is common with Buttercups, Anemones are poisonous. As befits the legends, one of their traditional medicinal uses was against syphilis.
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