Monday, August 13, 2012

Weller Pearl and Lavandula stoechas Dried Flower Spikes

Weller Pearl and Lavandula stoechas Dried Flower SpikesWeller Pearl and Lavandula stoechas Dried Flower Spikes
Why not turn a yard chore - trimming the lavender - into something more interesting like collecting the dried flower spikes and displaying them? All of the spikes are past their prime, not a hint of purple left, just brown and green. The bees are done with them. Yet, in this is dried out state they still have a sweet, if not subdued perfume - kind of like beeswax. The spikes shown here came from three plants - all with purple-colored bracts. Other lavenders in our yard have yellow, raspberry, and white bract colors (see Lavandula Summer – Raspberry Ruffles, Madrid Blue, and Lemon Leigh).

The spikes shown here are Lavandula stoechas, called by many common names, but we prefer Spanish Lavender. It is distinctive in its appearance with “rabbit ears” on top which are really sterile bracts.

The generic name, according to our oracle Quattrocchi, has its origins as:

Latin lavo, as, lavi, lavatum, are, and lavo, is, lavi, lautum, ere “to wash”; Medieval Latin lavendula and livendula possibly connected with lividus, a, um “bluish, blue”; see Carl Linnaeus, Species Plantarum. 572. 1753 and Genera Plantarum. Ed. 5. 249. 1754.

For the specific epithet we’ll go to the entry for stoechadifolia where two possible etymologies are given:

stoechadifo'lia: with leaves like lavender, from Lavandula stoechas or Spanish lavender or French lavender. I have found two etymologies for the name Stoechades: (1) Stoechas was a Greek name for a plant in the mint family which grew on a group of islands off the coast of France now called the Ile de Hyeres where this species apparently grew; and (2) "The Greeks had named these islands "Stoechades", "the rows," undoubtedly because for a sailor who enters the roads they appear to form an alignment. Other archipelagoes in the Mediterranean bore names thus indicating the position of the islands. For example, Kikladhes, at Aegean Sea, laid out in a circle, Sporades (today Dodecanese) because they are scattered." (From a website about the Frioul Islands)

From the Frioul Islands (located off the Mediterranean coast of France, near Marseille) we jump to the United States, Zanesville Ohio to be exact, where the clay found there went into the two Weller Pearl pottery pieces shown here that contain the dried lavender spikes. The Pearl line features draped bead in green, rose, and black, accented with a green banded collar and punctuated by rosettes. The body of the pieces is ivory trimmed in black at the lip. The Weller Pottery Company created a wide-range of designs, from art ware to functional ware from the 1870s to the 1940s. The Pearl line was produced and sold in the late teens (~1918).

Update:  August 2013

This year, I decided to fill the bowl less and keep the little rabbit ears on.  I mixed in Lavandula stoechas ‘Lemon Leigh’ with the common purple L. stoechas.

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