Love Lies Bleeding
What an ironical and a metaphorical name for a plant alluding to love, love of lies, love lies bleeding
Summer had eclipsed under coronavirus pandemic across the world.
Sweden has four distinct seasons: summer, autumn (fall), winter, and spring.
On an evening walk in the Botanical Garden of Gothenburg, I saw a plant with catkin-like part neither a shade of red nor a shade of orange but somewhere in the shade of crisie: red-pink colour. The garden authorities have put the name of the plant alongside other ephemerals and annuals.
Love lies bleeding is the common name of Amaranthus caudatus of the family Amaranthaceae.
Loves Lies Bleeding: Culinary Application
Gretchen Heber writes in Gardener’s Path website about the plant’s culinary applications that are sweet and savoury in ‘India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, for example, the leaves are commonly used like spinach, often sauteed with chilies and spices’. Gretchen informs, “The iron- and calcium-rich seeds can be dried and then cooked and eaten as you would oatmeal or porridge, or ground into a flour. As amaranth is gluten free, it’s a nutritious option for those with celiac disease. And it provides three times as much fiber as wheat.”
According to Gretchen, it was ‘an important food crop for the Aztecs and Incas as well. In some parts of Mexico and the US today, the dried seeds are popped and topped with sweet goodness such as honey, molasses, or chocolate’.
Royal Horticultural Society, a registered charity in the UK, informs that love-lies-bleeding is also known as cat tail, chenile plant, floramor, Inca wheat, lady’s riding whip, tassel flower, teasel flower, thrumwort, tumbleweed, velvet flower velvet flower.
Love lies bleeding is also known as pigweed, the undignifying name is due to its weeding nature.
Love lies bleeding has ovate leaves and ‘drooping, crimson tassel-like racemes of tiny flowers’.
Love Lies Bleeding: In Arts & Culture
The plant is mentioned in the poem ‘Garden of Eden’ by John Milton as ‘remov’d from Heav’n” when it blossoms because the flowers “shade the fountain of life”.
Milton describes it as ‘immortal’ in reference to the flowers that generally do not wither and retain bright reddish tones of colour, even when deceased — sometimes referred to as ‘love-lies-bleeding’. In an article titled ‘Milton’s Plants in Paradise Lost’ Mineo Moritani writes that ‘only a few of the sixty vigorous and often coarse annuals that constitute Amaranthus is the amaranth family Amaranthaceae’. Moritani explains, “Amaranthus are mostly natives of tropical, subtropical, and warm temperature regions and occur in many parts of the world. Most are too weedy to be garden plants, but among those cultivated are such popular kinds as love-lies-bleeding, prince’s feather, and Joseph’s coat. The name of the genus is from the Greek amarantos, unfading, in allusion to the lasting qualities of the flower parts. The gaity-coloured foliage plants that include the kind known as Joseph’s coat are varieties of the very variable.”
Love Lies Bleeding is the name of a novel by Edmund Crispin, a play by Don DeLillo, and one part of a track name the song name — Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding — is the opening track on the double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John.
If emotions and feelings of humans have a form in nature, love lies bleeding conjures the emotions and feelings.