This section is from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia". Also available from Amazon: Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
Continued front page 3752, Part 31
Hazel - " Reconciliation." Mythology has given us a very poetical explanation of why the meaning of reconciliation was given to the hazel. In primeval times, ere law, religion, and some say language, were known upon the earth, man lived in a state of barbarism. At length the immortal gods took pity upon him, and Apollo and Mercury descended to the earth, after bestowing gifts upon each other, Apollo receiving a lyre made from the shell of a tortoise, and Mercury a hazel stick, which possessed the magic power of imparting the love of virtue, and of reconciling hearts divided by envy and hatred. To the accompaniment of his lyre, Apollo sang to the mortals the story of creation, the power of love, and the beauty of the worship of the gods, and at the sound of his voice revenge died, and envy fled away. Mercury then took up the task, and, touching man with his hazel rod, he bestowed upon him the gift of language and eloquence, taught him that unity imparted strength and produced prosperity. Listening to the wondrous story, both filial and patriotic love awoke in man's dull heart, and the dawn of a new era began. In all his pictures Mercury is still depicted carrying this hazel rod, which, adorned with two light wings entwined with serpents, is known by the name of Caduceus, and regarded as the emblem of peace, commerce, and reconciliation. Heartsease - " You occupy my thoughts." The alternative name for the heartsease is " pansy," derived from the French word " pensee - thought." In the floral language of France this flower desires the recipient to " think of me " (pensez a moi). Ben Jonson spelled it paunse, Spenser as paunce, and Milton as pancies. Shakespeare makes Ophelia say when distributing her flowers: " And there is pansies, that's for thoughts." One pretty line defines this flower as the " Shining pansy trimmed with golden lace." Of the many names given to the heartsease, one of the prettiest surely is " three faces under a hood," because the petals resemble little faces looking up at one. Another suggestive title is " kiss me behind the garden-gate." According to an old legend, heartsease was originally a milk-white flower, till Cupid in wanton mischief strove to pierce a maiden's heart; but, repelled by her icy coldness, the arrow glanced off, and fell upon the flower, dyeing it purple with , love's wound, and gaining for it the name " love in idleness." Shakespeare alludes to this in " Midsummer Night's Dream," ii. 1 :
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell; It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it love in idleness . . . The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid Will make a man or woman madly doat Upon the next living creature that it sees."
The German term the pansy "stepmother" flower from the fancy that the smallest petal resembles the stepchild overshadowed by her stepmother and two stepsisters.
Heal All - " Healing " or " comfort." This plant derives its name from the French toute saine (heal all). Coming into blossom about St. John's Day, it was gathered on Midsummer Eve (St. John's Eve), and hung up in houses as a preservative from evil spirits and storms. Formerly it was worn in Scotland as a charm against witchcraft.
Heather-" Bravery." White heather is said to bring good luck, and for this reason is frequently included in bridal bouquets.
Heliotrope - " Devotion." The word heliotrope is derived from two Greek words : helios (sun) and trepo (to turn), because the whole genus of Helianthus plants are supposed to turn towards the sun, following him in his course round the sky. The famous botanist Jussieu first discovered it in the Cordilleras, Peru. His attention was first drawn to some tall, green bushes by reason of the exquisite fragrance emanating from it, and on approaching saw the ends of every spray were covered with very small delicate flowers of a blue-purple colour. Struck with the fact that all the blossoms were turned towards the sun, Jussieu christened it the heliotrope. From the seeds he sent home heliotrope was first cultivated in the Royal gardens at Paris in 1740.
Hellebore-" Scandal," "calumny." The black hellebore is the botanical name for the Christmas rose, which was much used by the ancient Druids, both in medicine and to hallow their dwellings. It was thought to drive away evil spirits, and preserve cattle from the spells of the witches.
Hemlock - " You will be my death." The hemlock is a very poisonous plant, and by its juice prisoners were done to death in ancient Greece. Socrates was thus killed, 400 b.c, and his marvellous fortitude when drinking it created the most profound impression on all present. It was ever a favourite plant in witchcraft, and in " Macbeth," the Third Witch speaks of "Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark."
Hepatica (Liverwort).-" Confidence." From the old country proverb that when hepatica comes into flower, " The earth is in love, we may sow with confidence."
Herb Of Grace - "Disdain." An old-fashioned name for rue.
Hibiscus - " Delicate beauty." This is a species of mallow bearing a purple and yellow flower which opens but for an hour, and by the French is called " fleur d'une heure." The hibiscus of the West Indies is often called the " changeable rose," from the fact that the flower which opens white changes at noon to rose colour, and later to purple.
Holy Herb) - " Enchantment." This is another name for the verbena, which was supposed to cure all manner of ills, since it is said to have been first found on the holy Mount of Olives.