We have growing in our area the Blue Grass-lily, Caesia calliantha, known for its soft grey blue flowers.

bluegrasslilyBlue Grass-lily

There are also two local forms of C. parviflora.

Caesia as a genus is commonly thought to be named for the 16th century Italian naturalist Frederico Cesi. However, consider this alternate explanation of the meaning of Caesia or Caesium. Translated from the Ancient Greek, caesium meant ‘heavenly blue‘.

Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman dictator from 49-44 BC, was known to be from a family that had rare, distinctive grey-blue eyes; so much so that the moniker ‘Caesar’ was applied to him. After his famous assassination, Julius Caesar's adopted son (later the emperor Augustus) and all subsequent emperors through to Hadrian added the moniker of Caesar to their names as an honorific title.

Julius Caesar (a general in Britain in 57 BC) was also known to have his personal dress toga dyed a distinctive soft grey with a talc stone found in Britain, which contained Caesium, a highly volatile alkaline metal which has in its visual spectrum distinctive lines of light blue, in its composition.

The beautiful eucalypt, ‘Silver Princess’ E. caesia, from Western Australia is distinguished by a soft grey powdery bloom on its branches , stems , flower buds and fruit. It may be that the soft pale blue flowers of C. calliantha and the soft grey powdery stems and buds of E. caesia owe more in their classification to the historical evidence respectively of grey-blue eyes and the sumptuous grey toga attributed to Julius Caesar.

Neville Millen

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