Linen and Silk Samples Dyed with a Decoction of Dyer’s Chamomile Flowers


Chamomile appears in a number of chapters in The Rev Hilderic Friend’s Flowers & Flower Lore.

Under Flowers for Heroes, Saints, And Gods he writes that it is to St Anne – said to be the mother of the Virgin – that the Chamomile is dedicated. The botanical name of the Common or Dog’s Chamomile is Matricaria, and the flower seems to have been dedicated to St Anne from a fanciful derivation of this word from mater and cara, or “Beloved mother.”

Within Flowers And Showers: Trees and Electricity he notes: “Many are the plants which were … used to ward off the evil effects of the thunderstorm, … Some trees and plants, however, were peculiarly liable to the stroke of the electric current. … we find that in Eastern Prussia wreaths of Chamomile-flowers are hung up in the houses on St. John’s Day as a preservative against storms.”

In The Language of Flowers: “The peasantry in Switzerland make the Poppy reveal their future. … It has been remarked by some that the flowers chiefly employed for these purposes have a star-like form, as the Daisy and Chrysanthemum, and are employed because people believed them to be associated with those heavenly powers which were supposed to rule the destinies of men. … It is true that the Daisy used to be employed, and still is, in some country places in England and France; while in Germany the same flower is the favourite among the anxious maidens for prognosticating their love fortunes. In the same country the Chamomile is also employed for the same purpose. “When Goethe represents Margaret plucking the star-flower, and crying, as its last leaf falls, ‘He loves me!’ and Faust saying, ‘Let this flower-language be thy heavenly oracle!’ he traces all our drawing-room fortune-telling with flowers to its true source.”

In Flowers And the Dead: Fresh Flowers On Graves: “No flowers or evergreens are permitted to be planted on graves, but such as are sweet-scented: the Pink and Polyanthus, Sweet-williams, Gilliflowers and Carnations, Mignonette, Thyme, Hyssop, Chamomile, and Rosemary, … many other beautiful flowers are entirely left out, through want of fragrance.”

Under Wreaths and Chaplets: “We have spoken of the use of garlands among the Greeks and Romans. That many of their garlands were made of flowers and leaves whose sanctity was Eastern we know. Even in Rome such wreaths were called ‘Egyptian.’. Among the flowers chiefly used were … and yellow flowers generally, Chamomile, …”

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