While exploring the origins of pelargonium and geranium, I came across a wealth of meaning in the names of Cape flora. It was said that the absence of popular nomenclature was due to the stern and strenuous character of the life of the pioneers. I would like to contradict this statement with proof of creativity, imagination and poetic fancy during those early years.
With its delicate cream and pink bloom the Blushing bride receives the award for the protea with the most romantic appeal. Apart from its history of being used in bridal bouquets, there is another charming explanation for its name. It was the costum in the old days for the young French Hoek (Franschhoek today) farmers to wear a blushing bride as a buttonhole when they went courting, and the deeper the pink the more serious their intentions…
My favourite name is Juffertjie-roer-by-die-nag (my translation = Missie-moves-at-night.) These plume-like flowers are fragrant at night possibly because the plant is pollinated by moths and not bees. A very important lesson to learn from this flower is to make your move at the right time of day not to attract the wrong suitor!
There are two South African wild flowers with the name Skaamblom (my translation = Shy flower) and it is up to you to decide which is the more suitable name:
This protea was too shy to be photographed as I could only find this drawing. According to Conrad Lighton in “Cape Flower Kingdom” nothing could better describe the bashful downward hang, or the coy side-turn, of a head of the beautiful Protea rosacea than skaamblom. The protea will get my vote.
I hope this Valentine’s Day you will be pleasantly surprised by an amazing wild flower that will leave you blushing, moving at night, bashful or coy.
Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees.
Quote from the movie Withnail and I (Thanks to Miss Apis Millifera)