More Information About Polymnia
In Greek mythology, Polymnia was the daughter of Zeus, mother of Orpheus and the muse of lyric poetry and religious hymns. In fact, the name Polymnia comes from "poly" (many) and "hymnos" (hymn). She is also credited with having invented the lyre and modern agriculture. Carl Linnaeus must have found some sort of inspiration in the plant genus Polymnia because he named it for this Greek muse in his famous 1753 book, "Species Plantarum". Although it is in a large plant family (Asteraceae), there are just 4 species in this eastern American native plant genus ; P. canadensis from Ontario to Alabama, P. cossatotensis from Arkanasa, P. laevigata from the Southeast, and P. johnbeckii from Tennessee. Polymnia is a woodland garden plant rarely used in ornamental horticulture but great at attracting bees and other insects to the small, white, sap-covered flowers. The main ornamental feature of polymnia is its foliage which is lobed, oak-like, and fragrant when crushed. Perhaps it was the lyre-like curve of the polymnia leaf lobes that inspired Linnaeus to bestow this name on the plant.
In general, polymnia is fairly flexible about its environment, although it prefers part sun, and well-drained soils that are neither too wet or too dry. It will grow from 1.5' to 5' tall depending on the conditions. We hope this esoteric native plant serves as a muse and inspires you to write a poem about your garden. Try pairing polymnia with other Greek mythology inspired plants like danae, napaea, ferula, chelone, asclepias, nerium, achillea, anemone and acanthus. When you are ready to buy polymnia for your woodland garden, check out our online list of polymnia for sale.