CLEMATIS

Clematis vitalba. Virgin's Bower.

LEGEND

According to a German legend, wild clematis sheltered Mary and Jesus during their flight into Egypt.

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STRAWBERRY

Fragaria vesca. Fruitfulness of Mary.

LEGEND

A German LEGEND says that Our Lady would go berry-hunting with the children on June 24, St. John's Day. Also on that day no mother who had lost a child would taste a strawberry, for if she did her little one would get none in Paradise, because Mary would say to the child, "You must stand aside, for your mother has already eaten your share, and so none remains for you!"

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THISTLE

Carduus benedictus, Carduus marianus, Cnicus benedictus, and Silybum marianum. Our Lady's Thistle, Virgin Mary's Thistle, blessed thistle and milk thistle.

LEGEND

The white veins traced on the leaves of the plant are said to be from the drops of Mary's milk falling on them when the Blessed Mother moved her baby from her breast after feeding him.

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OX-EYE DAISY

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum. Mary's Star.

LEGEND

On the night that Jesus was born the Magi, praying on a mountain side, saw a star appear in the form of a fair child. The child told them to go to Jerusalem, where they would find a newborn child. When the Wise Men, following the star, reached the village of Bethlehem, they looked for a further sign. Suddenly King Melchior saw a strange white and gold flower that looked like the star that had led them to Bethlehem. As he bent to pick it, the door of a stable opened and he saw the Holy Family.

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FORGET-ME-NOT

Myosotis scorpioides. Eyes of Mary.

LEGEND

The young Jesus, looking into His mother's eyes one day in front of their home in Nazareth said: "Mother, your eyes are so beautiful, everyone looks at them in wonder. What a pity those who will be born in future generations will not be able to behold. them. Because in your eyes one can see my paradise, and whoever looks into them cannot help but be drawn toward it." Then He touched her eyelids and passed his hands over the ground as though sowing seeds. Immediately forget-me-nots sprang up, hundreds of tiny blue eyes with golden centers, as a reminder for people of future generations of Our Lady's pure eyes.

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SCOTCH ROSE

Rosa spinosissima. Our Lady's Rose.

LEGEND

In Glastonbury, England, it is told that Joseph of Arimethia, a rich man who provided the tomb for Jesus' burial, raised the first Christian temple to the Blessed Virgin. The temple was destroyed during the Reformation but a rose still grows on the spot, blooming all winter and at Christmas-time.

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LAVENDER

Lavandula officinalis. Mary's Drying Plant.

LEGEND

After Mary had washed Jesus' clothes and was looking for a place to hang them to dry, she saw a gray bush of lavender and on its branches she spread the snow-white baby clothes. The sun and the wind dried the clothes and when Mary came to gather them, the clothes smelled sweet and clean and the bushes were fragrant with the sweet scent that lavender now has. It is said that the fragrance which came from the earthly Body of the Son of God was transferred to the plant, giving it its unique scent.

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FUCHSIA

Fuchsia magellanica and hybrida. Our Lady's Ear-drop.

LEGEND

The gently drooping flowers with white outer leaves and cerise, purple or pink petals resemble ear-drops or pendant earrings, and it is said that Jesus may have playfully hung flower jewels of ruby and amethyst colors on His mother's ears.

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OUR LADY'S ROSE

Lychnis coronaria. Rose campion. Our Lady's Rose

LEGEND

In medieval times a lordsman on a journey had to pass through a woods where he knew thieves would be waiting for him. As he entered the woods, he remembered that he had not yet said "Our Lady's saluter," so he knelt down to pray. As he prayed the Virgin Mary came and placed a garland on his head, and as he said each "Ave" she placed a rose in the garland that was "so bryghte that all the wood shone thereof." Finishing his prayers, he proceeded through the woods, unaware of the glorious crown on his head. When the thieves saw the roses they stood aside, allowing him to pass unharmed.

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OUR LADY'S BEDSTRAW

Galium verum. Yellow bedstraw, Our Lady's Bedstraw.

LEGEND

The white blossoms of bedstraw turned to gold with the radiance of Jesus at the hour in which he was born. Joseph had spread dried bedstraw and other grasses in the stable at Bethlehem, preparing a couch for Mary, after they learned there was no room for them in the inn.

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JERUSALEM COWSLIP

Pulmonaria officinalis. Spotted Lungwort, Spotted Cowslip of Jerusalem, Mary's Tears, Virgin Mary's Tears.

LEGEND

While Mary was on her way to Jerusalem to present Jesus in the temple she sat down at the edge of the road to nurse her Son. The spotted cowslip was growing at her feet, and its blooms turned blue as they reflected the blue of the Blessed Mother's eyes. Her eyes filled with tears as she thought of the poverty and future suffering of her Child and the buds of the flowers grew pink as her eyes reddened from weeping. When she moved the Infant Jesus from her breast, a few drops of her milk fell on the plant, spotting the leaves which have ever since borne the white markings of her milk.

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YELLOW LADY SLIPPER

Cypripedium calceolus. Our Lady's Slipper.

LEGEND

As a little boy, Jesus thrust his mother's foot into the tiny opening of the flower. It is told that in medieval times children liked to think of Jesus, as a baby boy, easing His mother's foot into the fairy slipper.

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MADONNA LILY

Lilium candidum. Annunciation Lily. Also known as Virgin Lily and Mary Lily.

LEGEND

The archangel Gabriel held a lily in his hand in recognition of Mary's purity when he appeared to the young virgin to tell her that she had "found favor with God" and would conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. After Mary touched the flower, which had been scentless, an exquisite fragrance arose from it.

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COLUMBINE

Aquilegia vulgaris. Our Lady's Shoes.

LEGEND

The tiny flower is said to have sprung up wherever Mary's foot touched the earth when she was on her way to visit her cousin, Elizabeth.

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STAR OF BETHLEHEM

Ornithogalum umbellatum. Star of the Cross, Mary's Tears.

LEGEND

The flower is said to resemble the star of the east that pointed to the birthplace of Jesus. The star shone brightly in the night and guided the shepherds to the place where the newborn Jesus lay, then broke into little pieces, scattering white blossoms everywhere

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by J. C. Tierney , was last modified Friday, 02/11/2011 12:23:22 EST by Ajay Kumar . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.