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Genus of the Week

Week of August 17-23

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You may have noticed that the Genus of the Week has not been updated recently. You also may have had trouble accessing this page. Both of these things are due to a problem with our web server that I have been working very hard to fix. Please keep stopping by; once the web server problem is fixed the Genus of the Week will be back!!

This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
Visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:

Circaea - Enchanter's Nightshade

Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae - The Evening Primrose Family
Tribe: Circaeae
Number of Species: Approximately 3
Root: From the Greek "Circe", the enchantress in Homer's Odyssey who charmed men and then turned them into swine.

Plants in the genus Circaea are distinguished by their tiny two-petaled flowers. Though the common name suggests it, this genus is not related to the Nightshades of the Solanaceae family. It is thought that the Greek enchantress Circe used a species in this genus to poison her victims.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Circaea species:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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