Is there any flower more fragrant than a Gardenia?
Our 2-year old gardenia plant has been delighting our senses with its intoxicating fragrance whenever we sit out on the front porch — especially on a windy day. (Ours bloomed later than one that blogger friend Ludwig (GA) posted about in Mid-May.)
The fragrance is so intense that even a couple of blooms brought indoors and placed in water have been just as wonderful.
The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottish-born American naturalist.Dr. Garden, a botanist, physician and zoologist, was born and educated in Scotland, but lived and practiced medicine for many years in Charleston, SC. He also collected and studied plants and specimens that he sent to John Ellis, a London zoologist and to the Swedish naturalist, Carl Linnaeus.
Linnaeus laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. This is the formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts which both use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages.
Dr. Garden sent various magnolias and other specimens to London, and wrote descriptions of many more, but the plant named for him was not connected to those efforts. Linnaeus was urged to name a plant after Garden; Ellis persuaded him to use Gardenia for the Cape jasmine, also known as Cape jessamine.
During the U.S. Revolutionary War, Dr. Garden sided with the British sending congratulations to Major General Charles Cornwallis after the Battle of Camden, SC (also called the Battle of Gum Swamp). Two years later, he had to leave SC and his property was confiscated. He moved to London and became vice-president of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. He died of tuberculosis in 1791.
There you have it, possibly more than you wanted (or needed) to know about how the Gardenia was named, but now you know too!.