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Blue Flashes at  Essaouira. Anagallis arvensis L. var. caerulea (L.) Gouan forma azurea, Blue Pimpernel, Essaouira, Morocco | by Rana Pipiens
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Blue Flashes at Essaouira. Anagallis arvensis L. var. caerulea (L.) Gouan forma azurea, Blue Pimpernel, Essaouira, Morocco

I hadn't at first noticed at all the tiny Blue Flashes of long-named Anagallis arvensis L. var. caerulea (L.) Gouan forma azurea in the fiercely sun-lit scraggly gardens just outside Essaouira's reddish late-eigtheenth century crenallated walls. But they were there in a few weedy patches in all their small (about 8 mm across) sparkling beauty.

That long name I'm quoting is one of Anagallis arvensis's 100 or so different designations. It seems rather appropriate. Antoine Gouan (1733-1821), son of Montpellier, France, went back there after his studies to continue his work in the natural sciences. In his flora of Montpellier (1764) he writes about our Blue Anagallis and its medicinal properties. And that brought to my mind - now immersed in the Arabic culture of Morocco - medieval Montpellier. At Montpellier there was a thriving Arabic, Latin and Hebrew scientific community which put down the very foundations of Western Medical Practice. The famed medical school there dates from 1220.

All the more reason to choose this particular name for Anagallis arvensis on my last day but one in hospitable Morocco.

 

PS Please remain patient with my spotty internet... Thanks.

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Taken on April 16, 2012