Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), great botanist and horticulturalist of the sixteenth century, was at a loss. What to call this flowering shrub? He'd seen it in the mountains of Pannonia (more or less today's Hungary and Austria) and was struck by its colors. He knew the white Polygala chamaebuxus, but on this beauty he waxes particularly eloquent at the end of his chapter (Rariorum plantarum historia ). I paraphrase: two of its petals are of the most beautiful purple, and the third - something of a tube - is crowned by gold. I think, he continues, that no-one until now has described this elegant plant, and hence I'll call it 'Anonymos', because I haven't been able to find it in older authoritative authors. Of course I hope others will find a name in the ancient authors so it won't have to be 'Anonymos' in perpetuity. And he adds that rustics - the country people - call it Wintergruen - Wintergreen - because it retains its green foliage in all seasons.
Today, of course, it's called Polygala chamaebuxus grandiflora;
Tags: Carolus Clusius Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Pannonia Wintergreen Wintergruen Anonymos Polygala chamaebuxus grandiflora Hungary Austria purple gold shrub