Fern flower

The fern flower is a magic flower in Baltic mythology (e.g. _lv. Papardes zieds, _et. Sõnajalaõis), and Slavic mythology ( _pl. Kwiat paproci, _ru. "Цветок папоротника").

Latvian and Estonian tradition

In the Estonian and Latvian tradition, the fern flower is supposed to appear only on the night of Jāņi (Jaaniõhtu or Jaaniöö in Estonia), the celebration of the summer solstice with pre-Christian origins. Here, it is a symbol of fertility. During this supposedly magical night, young couples go into the woods "seeking the fern flower", which is in fact an euphemisim for sex.

Referring to this tradition, [http://www.papardeszieds.lv Papardes zieds] ("fern flower" in Latvian) is the name of an NGO in Latvia that promotes education about matters pertaining to sexuality, fertility, and relationships.

lavic tradition

According to the myth, this flower blooms for very short time on the eve of the Ivan Kupala Day. The flower would bring fortune to the person who finds it. In various versions of the tale the fern flower brings luck, wealth, or the ability to understand the animal speech.

Blooming ferns

In fact, ferns are not flowering plants. However some experts think that the flowering fern myth has roots in reality. In the past, the grouping of plants was not as exact as modern taxonomic ones. Several flowering plants look like ferns, and some of them indeed open flowers during night time. [ [http://www.zwoje-scrolls.com/zwoje17/text18.htm "Saint John's Wreaths and Fern Flower"] pl icon] Also, certain real ferns, e.g., "Osmunda regalis" have sporangia in tight clusters, which may appear as flowers and in fact they are commonly known as "flowering ferns".

References


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