One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall scrambling clematis with small fragrant flowers and tufts of grey hairs around the seeds. Native to Eurasia and North Africa, it grows chiefly on calcareous soils.
"Clematis vitalba", family "Ranunculaceae"Also called old man's beard
- ‘It is a bonny plant, the traveller's joy, and deserves its honourable and refreshing name; but as a garden plant it is valueless in comparison to the plant here figured, the Clematis flammula of Linnaeus, which has a neater growth, and in the days of its exuberant flowering emits a fragrance so rich and powerful as to overpower all other of the autumnal odours of the garden.’
- ‘In olden times wayfaring people used to pluck traveler's joy from the hedges and use it as tea, and as a ‘pick-up’ when infused in their bottles of ale, also as a headache cure: a head-cloth was soaked in the cold tea and bound over the brow; headaches were inevitable with long hours on the dusty roads in the age of foot or horse-back travel.’
- ‘Here with a quick movement of her scissors she snipped the spray of traveller's joy and it fell to the ground.’
- ‘The type of people who can be helped by Clematis vitalba (also called traveler's joy) are those who tend to live in a dream world and take little interest in day-to-day events.’
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