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Circaea lutetiana - Enchanter's Nightshade

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Myrtales - Family: Onagraceae

Enchanter's Nightshade

Damp, shady places are the preferred habitat of this attractive little wildflower, and woodlands are the best places to find it, although it sometimes grows underneath hedgerows.

Closeup of Enchanter's Nightshade

This flower is both common and widespread throughout the UK except in the far north. It is also found throughout northern Europe.

Detail of flower, Enchanter's Nightshade

Despite its name, few would argue that this is an enchanting wildflower, especially when seen in swathes on woodland edges, as in the picture below.

Enchater's Nightshade on the edge of Beech woodland near Hesdin, northern France

Etymology

The genus Circaea is named after Circe, the enchantress daughter of the god Helios in Greek mythology. The specific epithet lutetiana comes from Lutetia, the Latin name for the city of Paris, which is sometimes referred to as the city of witches.

The plants shown on this page were photographed in northern France.


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