Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Flower

The white trillium has been the provincial flower of Ontario since 1937.

Trillium goes by several names. The origins of some, such as "bethroot" and "wake robin", are not well known. The word "trillium" is related to the word for "three" in Latin, Greek, and other languages, corresponding to the plant's three leaves. Perhaps "wake robin" comes from the red color of certain species, or perhaps because the flower blooms in spring when robins abound. The nickname" Stinking Benjamin" derives from the distinctive and unpleasant odor of the flower, which is likened to the smell of rotting meat. Whatever the plant's name, Native Americans from throughout the continent made tea from trillium or boiled the greens to eat. Trillium was also a charm to foretell love, to detect witchcraft, to protect the teeth, and give general good luck.
The name "birthroot" (trillium) signals the most famous use of this plant. Native Americans and European settlers in North America used trillium to help with the labor of childbirth. Other gynecologically related symptoms trillium was used to relieve included
menstrual problems, sore nipples, and discomforts of menopause. Trillium is still employed for many of these same symptoms, as well as for bleeding associated with uterine fibroids.

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