Today I saw a flower bed full of what I thought was calendula officinalis,
or pot marigold. But as I was looking for photos of it,
I realized the flowers I saw aren't actually calendula,
which looks like this:
by TeunSpaans. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
I started hunting for what those yellow-orange flowers might be
and ran across references to arnica montana,
a little-known flowering herb that I've been familiar with
and occasionally used as an ointment a couple of decades now.
According to Wikimedia Commons, arnica has many names:
leopard's bane, wolf's bane, mountain tobacco, and my favorite:
Celtic nard (narde being an archaic term for ointment
prepared from a plant rhizome).
I've never seen arnica growing anywhere,
but this is what it looks like in bloom:
"Arnica montana 180605" by Bernd Haynold - Own work.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5
via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arnica_montana
The cream or gel prepared from arnica
has been used for centuries to alleviate the discomfort of muscle sprains,
aches, pains and bruising.
All that and pretty flowers too.