Superficial resemblance to : Pheasant's Eye (which is extinct in the wild), but which is also a member of the same Buttercup Family.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics : there is no other like it.
No relation to :
Love-lies-Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) [a plant belonging to the differing Pigweed Family, Amaranthaceae.
Unique amongst the Buttercup Family, Love-in-a-Mist forms seed capsules that are composed of several follicles that unite, each follicle containing seeds. The plant self seeds in much the same place year in year out.
It is found in or near gardens, especially in the South of England.
The ESSENTIAL OIL
The main volatile components of the essential oil are p-Cymene, Thymol,
ThymoHydroQuinone, Carvone, Carvacrol and Terpinen-4-ol which taken all together, with the three depicted below, constitute about 40% of the essential oil.
Thymol is a monoterpene isomeric with Carvacrol which are both derivatives of p-Cymene (which is also present in the oil). Thymol is naturally found in
Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Wild Thyme (Thymus polytrichus) and
Marjorum (Origanum vulgare) and smells aromatically, tastes delicious and has both insecticidal and biocidal properties. Both Thymol and Carvacrol can act as adjuctants, reducing the resistance of bacteria to antibiotic pharmaceuticals such as penicillin. They also have fungicidal properties.
The above two structures are an interesting juxtaposition of both Thymol and para-
Quinone, (1,4-BenzoQuinone)) intersecting each other through a common 6-membered ring. Thymoquinone has demonstrable anti-epilectic, analgesic and anti-convulsant effects and can induce apoptosis in certain circumstances, but is so far not used medicinally. Thymohydroquinone is the double hydroxy of ThymoQuinone and also occurs in oil made from the roots of the non-native
Arnica (Arnica montana) which is used externally as an ointment and liniment.
A HETERO ALKALOID
Damascenin is a simple poisonous alkaloid present at about 0.5% in the essential oils from Love-in-a-Mist and is the fragrant principle of that oil. It is a proto-alkaloid, meaning an alkaloid that lacks a heterocyclic ring, the nitrogen atom being outside the ring.
β-Elemene is a poisonous sesquiterpene present at about 73% in the same oils, and may be effective as a pharmaceutical in prolonging the life in sufferers of lung cancer, but more research is necessary. It is also found in Celery and in Mint, but obviously not in detrimental amounts. Elemene should not be confused with Elemicin, a phenylpropanoid related to Eugenol.