Corn Marigold & Cromwell
Corn Marigold & Cromwell
Glebionis segetum (Chrysanthemum segetum) is a species of the genus Glebionis, probably native only to the eastern Mediterranean region but now naturalized in western and northern Europe, China and parts of North America. Common names include corn marigold and corn daisy. Like all plants in the family Compositae (including Daisies and Thistles) each so-called flower of the Corn Marigold is, to the botanist, an inflorescence - a collection of small flowers or florets, massed together for greater effect. Only the outer (or ray) florets have petals. In the Ox-Eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) these are white, and contrast with the yellow central (disc) florets. In the Corn Marigold all the florets are a bright golden-yellow. The name of Gold or Golds, lingers on in place names like Goldhanger (Essex), Golding (Shropshire) and Goldor (Oxfordshire). Traces are not found before Scottish Neolithic deposits so it may have arrived with the introduction of agriculture. By the reign of Henry II the Corn Marigold was such a serious pest he issued an ordinance against the 'Guilde Weed' - perhaps the first law requiring destruction of a weed. The flower heads produce around 176 fruits; an average plant some 1200-1300, of two kinds - those from the central florets and those from the peripheral ray florets. The species is still widespread but its distribution is patchy. In some places it is quite scarce thanks in part to the use of clean seed as a method of eliminating weeds.
Lithospermum is a genus of plants belonging to the family Boraginaceae. The genus is distributed nearly worldwide, but most are native to the Americas and the centre of diversity is in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Species are known as gromwells or stoneseeds. A native plant, Gromwell is generally, though patchily, distributed in southern England and Wales, but rare in Scotland. It derives its name from the Old French gromil (now grémil) In earlier times it was known as Grey Myle, and Grummel which survives today. Another local name, in the north, is Stonyhard, referring to the fruits which are hard nutlets. A large plant may produce a thousand, the average is 170. This accounts for the generic name Lithospermon. This may have been the plant Dioscorides (1) called Stone-Seed or Lithospermon. It was recommended medicinally for expelling stones, based on the Doctrine of Signatures (2). Its medicinal use is indicated by the specific name officinale. An American species (Lithospermon ruderale) was used by some Navajo and Shoshone American Indians for fertility control.
(1) Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90 AD) Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, De Materia Medica;
(2) The doctrine of signatures, dating from the time of Dioscorides and Galen, states that herbs resembling various parts of the body can be used by herbalists to treat ailments of those body parts.