This flowering plant is so distinctive both in its flowers and in its foliage, but I can’t find it in my seasonal books at the moment.
Hmmmm, it could be the Garden Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) which is a very interesting plant. Maybe I could make an invisibility hat out of it (scroll down to the bottom for the story).
Facts about the Heliotrope: A visually beautiful flower. It has deep green corrugated leaves with large sprays of tiny purple flowers, varying slightly with the different named varieties. It grows in a bushy form, and looks good throughout the summer, but at the first touch of frost its life is gone.
[The needs] Sunshine, rich soil, and moisture are necessary for best results, although like many plants it will survive on less. But since this is a one season plant, with some difficulty in starting from seed, it would be prudent to give it the requirements and then enjoy the beautiful show in return. My best results were from last year: planted in newly dug ground in the east bed with a mulch. The heliotropes in this position produced huge heads of deep purple, lovely with companions of hydrangea behind and a small rose, Seafoam, beside.
[Fun Facts] In the Language of Flowers, the heliotrope means devotion and faithfulness.
Smelling the fragrance of Heliotrope is said to soothe the nerves.
Heliotrope has long been believed to confer invisibility. Boccaccio’s Decameron refers to it as a stone, saying, “Heliotrope is a stone of such extraordinary virtue that the bearer of it is effectually concealed from the sight of all present”
Similarly, Dante writes in Inferno (XXIV. 92),
Amid this dread exuberance of woe
Ran naked spirits winged with horrid fear,
Nor hope had they of crevice where to hide,
Or heliotrope to charm them out of view
Posted on April 18