The Virgin in the Open (Nigella damascena) is an annual plant of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). The Mediterranean-based plant is a cultivated garden plant in Central Europe often.
The generic name Nigella (Lat. Nigellus = black) refers to the black-colored seeds. The species name damascena means "coming from Damascus" and is seen by the botanist Heinz-Dieter Krausch as evidence that it was introduced on the trade relations of Venice to the Middle East in Central Europe.
The Virgin in the Open, which was formerly a frequent cottage garden plant bears a number of German names. These include Gretl in the bushes, Gretchen in the bush, Venushaarige, bride hair, black cumin Damascus, Damascus cumin black cumin and garden. However, it is not related to cumin or cumin, but belongs to the same genus as the black seed (Nigella sativa).
The name plays Gretl in the bushes on an Austrian legend, after the rich farmer's daughter Gretl had to renounce her love for the Keuschlersohn Hans at the request of the father. After they are consumed with longing for each other, they were transformed into flowers. While Gretl was the maiden in the Open, was depending on the region from the Hans Knotgrass or Chicory, which carry both known locally as the name Hansel on the road.
See Also: sending flowers, online florist