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Hawking Orange. Hieracium aurantiacum, Devil's Paintbrush, Engelbert, Groningen, The Netherlands | by Rana Pipiens
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Hawking Orange. Hieracium aurantiacum, Devil's Paintbrush, Engelbert, Groningen, The Netherlands

Sounds like an Angelic Place, does Engelbert, just to the east of Groningen in the northern Netherlands. And as such it would be a nice juxtaposition with Devil's Paintbrush, this beautiful Orange of Hieracium aurantiacum. But Engelbert has naught to do with Angels. It's a version of the medieval name of this area: Egnebert, named for an East Frisian family called Eggena; and 'bert' is akin to 'buurt' or 'area', some would say "'hood". It wasn't until the end of the seventeenth century that 'Engelbert' came to be used.

Whatever the etymologies, this area is truly Devilish, an "un-land', so to say: Euvelgunne (see my last posting). It's Devilish because of the fact that it was terribly prone to devastating floods. It was almost destroyed many times, for example in 1257, 1262, and again in the Most Horrible Marcellus Flood of 1267. Many more, and and a dire flooding when in 1686 the dikes of the Ems and the Dollard were breached by the St Martin's Flood. In fact, even today this entire area is endangered by flooding: at the beginning of this year (early January 2012) parts of east Groningen had to be evacuated. e.g. Woltersum. The dikes and levees were on the point of collapse. So it's easy to understand why some have indeed called this 'un-land', watery playground of the Devil.

Why Hieracium aurantiacum is called Devil's Paintbrush I don't know, but the name does stick in one's mind, and in the mind's eye you can see the fiery tongues of Hell lapping out of the Pretty Flower. The Ancients and Medievals made from this plant a Collyrium of Hierax, an Eagle Balm (see an earlier posting of mine). This balm was supposeed to clear the eye. Perhaps used here to make the eye sharp for spying on the horizon the coming of a Flood...

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Taken on June 11, 2012