Some mornings I wake up with two or more things rambling around in my mind. This morning I was greeted to the new day by this odd buy one get one free combination.
Hold up… faster than a time-machine!
- am·a·ranthˈaməˌranTH/noun – noun: amaranth; plural noun: amaranths
- any plant of the genus Amaranthus, typically having small green, red, or purple tinted flowers. Certain varieties are grown for food.
- an imaginary flower that never fades.
- a purple color.Origin: mid 16th century: from French amarante or modern Latin amaranthus, alteration (on the pattern of plant names ending in -anthus, from Greek anthos ‘flower’) of Latin amarantus, from Greek amarantos ‘everlasting,’ from a- ‘not’ + marainein ‘wither.’
Everlasting? Huh that’s a rather apt word for an earworm. Amaranth is also a cereal grain that has been cultivated for about eight millennia beginning with the Aztecs. Cultivation of Amaranth by the Aztecs was banned by the Conquistadores because of it’s use in Aztec religious cult; in spite of the ban on production, the species survived in the wild where it grew as a weed. It’s use as a food source for commercial use didn’t begin in the United States until the 1970s. Today, it can be found for sale in most health food stores, having nutritional properties similar to wheat and rice.
In addition to its use as a food source, the flowers of the amaranth plant were used to produce a deep red dye used by the Hopi, a Native American tribe in the western United States. Today there is a synthetic dye (Red No. 2 in North America and E123 in the EU) also called Amaranth for the similarity of its pigments to the natural betalains found in the plant based dye.
Amaranth with it’s etymological tie to immortality is featured heavily in literature and mythology and is found used from antiquity as a literary device alluding to everlasting life. From John Milton’s Paradise Lost:
Immortal amaranth, a flower which once
In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o’er elysian flowers her amber stream:
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks.
Hold up… faster than a time machine. What? I have no idea where those lyrics came from, but it was heard in Taylor Swift’s voice to a stereotypical country music melody. I’ve searched for something like it using SoundHound, but alas, there was no match – not surprising. At the top of the recommended songs is this one by Elton John. Enjoy!
Amaranth. Google Dictionary. Google.com
Wikipedia contributors. “Amaranth.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 Jun. 2015. Web. 10 Jul. 2015.
EltonJohnVEVO. “Sorry Seems to be The Hardest Word.” YouTube. 1 Sep. 2010. Web. 11 Jul 2015.