My Photo

Here you'll find

  • Transatlantic views on garden plants, native plants, invasive plants, books about plants… Plus comment on wildlife, catalog(ue)s, the smartness and the absurdity of plant names, the transatlantic life, fishing, music and more... From Northamptonshire (zone 8) in England and the much icier Pennsylvania (zone 5) in the USA.

Published last year

Bloom-Again Orchids

My American books

Now published

My British books

My hellebore book

  • For all you need to know about hellebores, check out my hellebore book - just click on the jacket

Every blog should have a cat

Some blogs should have two cats

  • Follow me on Twitter for updates on my blogs and more. Click the Twitter logo.

My websites

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

Colo(u)rful edibles

Also from Graham Rice

« Dan Hinkley's garden at Windcliff | Main | Cost of coffee »

October 29, 2009


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Trachystemon - why it is called Abraham, Isaac and Joseph?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I believe the correct name would be "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob".

In any case, indicates that it is a common name that has also been used for Pulmonaria and Symphytum, in all three cases because the flowers changed colours as they aged.

Graham Rice

I agree that "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" is far more logical and if I'd looked in my own encyclopedia I would have found that out!! I was just bewidered by the reference I came across in someone else's book. (I won't reveal who as they obviously made a silly slip.)

Mike Grant

I read somewhere (I can't remember where) that it was to do with the flower colours being red, white & blue (red on fading), which would also tie in with Pulmonaria and Symphytum. But I've got no idea how those colours relate to those three characters.

Graham Rice

But I don't think Trachystemon has flowers which change colour like that. Obviously there are no flowers to examine in November but Masha Bennett's book on the borage family simply says "purplish-blue". Or perhaps she and I are both wrong. Have no fear, I'll return to this vital topic of fundamental international botanical significance in the spring!


I believe the connection is simply that by being able to see a cluster with three differently coloured flowers, side by side, one might have said, "Look, there's Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", or in other words, three generations side by side, the older flower possibly looking a little less fresh than the younger. ;)

Graham Rice

Yes, Mark, seems very reasonable - thanks.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Now published

  • My ebooks for British and American gardeners

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Follow me on Twitter for updates on my blogs and more. Click the Twitter logo.

Search my blog

  • Custom Search

The BritMix

Published last year

Bloom-Again Orchids

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

Reading my blog

  • Pictures Hover the mouse point over a picture to see the caption, click on a picture to see a much larger version.

    Reading blogs Click here for advice on how to read blogs.

Blog powered by Typepad