The Noblest Flower
April 18, 2009
In previous years I have always claimed the windflower to be my favourite flower due to its fairness and elegance. Its appearance on the forest’s leaf-covered floor is a true sign of spring, and as the flowers grow tall and and plentiful during the last weeks of April the atmosphere is adorned with a green scent I very much believe to be the smell of spring itself.
In the Anemone nemorosa six petals the colour of purity and innocence surround a centre composed of a cloud of golden suitors swirling around modest green maidens in a frozen dance of courtship. It is a scene which I can spend a long time studying, simply because there is such beauty in the petite; one’s reward for leaning in to take a closer look.
This spring I believe my fondness to have found another — equally worthy — flower by which to be enamoured; the Hepatica nobilis.
The Hepatica is as elegant as its distant cousin the Anemone, however a flower more modest and well-mannered. While the windflowers cover the entire forest floor to form a lush carpet upon which the sun shines, the liverwort takes care to preserve its reputation by growing in clusters farther apart, making a tête-à-tête with it an experience much more intimate and pleasurable. So whilst the anemone attempts to with their numbers prove something to the rest of the world, the Hepatica is certain of itself and grows only where calmness is more abundant.
As the liverwort knows itself well and conjures its elegance from such knowledge, it also dares to differ. Whilst the windflowers only dare to shine as brightly white as they always have — some finding even such an anonymous appearance too much and allow their petals to blush pink — the Hepatica understands how to be unique and not two of their plants have flowers the same colour; the petals in a single grove often shifting from the deepest of velvet blues to the brightest of scarlet pinks. Every once in a while — does one only care to see to the small — one comes across a Hepatica vastly different from all else, their petals light-blue, light-pink, or even sparkling white.
The Hepatica is the most noble of the spring flowers with its bright white and lustrous gold that adorn the centre of a midnight blue rosette. Upon closer inspection it is revealed that the pale and fair suitors are bowing to honour the golden maidens in the centre, as if their modesty was paid every respect in the world.
The foremost proof of the liverwort’s nobility is however its colour, as it is as blue in petal as royalty is in blood. And indeed, this has been recognised by botanists of ages past, for is there any other reason for why its medicinal name has been gilded with the sophisticated ring of nobilis?