Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Greek Bell

Tonight I am showing you a drawing of a flower that you have seen previously in another drawing. Some months ago, I drew a single stalk of something I then called a "balloon flower" using a photograph from Hylott as my model. The drawing above is a "close-up" of the same flower using a different photograph as my model.

I have learned a lot more about these flowers over the past few months and I want to share some of that knowledge with you because I find it very interesting.

First of all, the Genus is Platycodon. The name Platycodon is taken directly from the Greek word for broad bell. If you look carefully at the drawing you will see that I have written the name in Greek at the very top of the drawing. In Greek it is spelled: p - l - a - t - u - k - w(o) - d - w(o) - n which is almost the same as it is in English. The Species is Platycodon grandiflorus. I call it the "Chinese Bellflower" even though the proper name is Greek! How confusing is that?

Actually, the plant has a number of names. Depending on the region of the world you are in, you might use any of the following: Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower, Common Balloon Flower or just plain, old Balloon Flower.

The reason the plant is called a bellflower is obvious from the shape of the blossoms; however where does the balloon name come from? If you take another close look at the drawing above, you will see one bud just ready to open. It looks as though it is inflated -- almost like someone has pumped some air into it -- hence the name balloon. Even the green buds have a puffed-up shape to them.

Another thing I learned about this plant is that the roots can be used as an anti-inflammatory medicine for coughs and colds (this might be good to remember during flu season). These roots are a standard remedy in traditional Chinese medicine.

Well, that is my lecture for this evening! I hope you like the drawing and found the information of interest.

May peace be with us all.

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