Terrestrial Mollusk, Poppy Anemone, and Crane Fly, Joris Hoefnagel, 1591-96; from George Bocskay, Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta in Annette Giesecke’s The Mythology of Plants

Terrestrial Mollusk, Poppy Anemone, and Crane Fly, Joris Hoefnagel, 1591-96; from George Bocskay, Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta in Annette Giesecke’s The Mythology of Plants

This brilliant scarlet anemone, Anemone coronaria, is often seen among olives and in stony places in Greece and the Mediterranean. The Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel shows it in this watercolor of 1591–1596 with a snail and a crane fly, or daddy longlegs. The ancient Greeks believed the flower’s blood-red color grew from the blood shed by demi-god Adonis, beloved by the goddess of love, Aphrodite, when he was killed by the virginal goddess Artemis while out hunting. Greek poets, storytellers, and mythographers often attached tales of unhappy love to the glorious flowers around them.

Source: Among the Plant Hunters by Robin Lane Fox

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