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Fairy Flower Perfume Newsletter

In the late spring, here in the Pacific Northwest, one finds in the mixed conifer forest the lovely, delicate twin flower (also called Fairy Flower) growing over crumbling logs and fallen trees. twin flowerFrom above the small rounded glossy green leaves of this creeping sub-shrub, rise up tiny, nodding, pinkish-white flowers, appearing in twin sets, off a single stem which branches into two. Thousands of these elegant botanical treasures may appear in certain areas, scenting the air with an ethereal essence that is of a rare and precious beauty captivating the heart with its simple innocent, purity and sweetness. As one goes through the forest one may first detect their precious scent upon the air, and if they are not acquainted with its source, wonder where such a fragrance originates. Then when one beholds the myriads of tiny flowers illuminated by the slanting rays of light piercing through the evergreen forest canopy and falling upon these small gems, and bends to inhale their sublime beauty, one becomes enchanted and falls under the spell of the fairy land which they inhabit. In its bouquet one perceives notes of almond, citrus, rose-jasmine-orange blossom accord, frankincense and a very high ethereal note as is sometimes found in blue lotus.

This humble flower, with its refreshing delightful fragrance is found in many locations. "It has a circumpolar distribution in moist subarctic to cool temperate forests, extending further south at high altitudes in mountains, in Europe south to the Alps, in Asia south to northern Japan, and North America south to northern California and Arizona in the west, and Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains in the east."

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linnaea

Its scientific name is Linnaea borealis. It was the favorite flower of Linneaus the great Swedish botanists and the plant was given its name by his esteemed teacher, Jan Frederik Gronovius. Hence "Linnea" is for Linneaus and "borealis" means of the north as it was first discovered by him in Lapland.

More images of Twin Flower may be viewed at:


I have endeavored to capture the beauty of this tiny forest beauty in Fairy Flower Perfume.

Fairy Flower Perfume recipe

3 ounces Lime Essence
1 ounce Lemon Essence
3/4 ounce Jasmin grandiflorum abs
1/2 ounce Rosa bourbonia/Rosa centifolia coextracted absolute
1/4 ounce Ylang Extra
1 ounce Sandalwood Papua
1/4 ounce Tonka Bean Absolute
1/2 ounce Frankincense/Cedarwood coextracted absolute
1/4 ounce Bitter Almond oil in fractionated coconut oil
1/2 ounce Orange Blossom Absolute
1/2 Blue Lotus Absolute


Twin Flower in Literature

She would hear the partridge drumming in the distance,
Rolling out his mimic thunder in the sultry noons;
Hear beyond the silver reach in ringing wild persistence
Reel remote the ululating laughter of the loons;
See the shy moose fawn nestling by its mother,
In a cool marsh pool where the sedges meet;
Rest by a moss-mound where the twin-flowers smother
With a drowse of orient perfume drenched in light and heat.

--from Lundy's Lane and Other Poems
by Duncan Campbell Scott

The night deepened around him and the sky hung out its thousand lamps. Odours of the woods floated on the air: the spicy fragrance of the firs; the breath of hidden banks of twin-flower. Muskrats swam noiselessly in the shadows, diving with a great commotion as the canoe ran upon them suddenly. A horned owl hooted from the branch of a dead pine-tree; far back in the forest a fox barked twice. The moon crept up behind the wall of trees and touched the stream with silver.

--from The Blue Flower, and Others
by Henry van Dyke

Under the white flashes of the northern lights in the desolatetwin flowers land he explored in his youth, there grows in the shelter of the spruce forests a flower which he found and loved beyond any other, the Linnæa borealis, named after him. In some pictures we have of him, he is seen holding a sprig of it in his hand. It is the twin flower of the northern Pacific coast and of Labrador, indeed of the far northern woods from Labrador all the way to Alaska, that lifts its delicate, sweet-scented pink bells from the moss with gentle appeal, "long overlooked, lowly, flowering early" despite cold and storm, typical of the man himself.

--from Hero Tales of the Far North
by Jacob A. Riis


O strangely rare!
The odor faint brought on the passing breeze,
The balsam breath blown from the tall fir trees
That silent rise and fair,
In the hot summer air!
And, mingling sweet,
A rich perfume, more delicate by far
Than spicy gales from tropic islands are,
Kisses about our feet,
For offered incense meet.
Beneath the screen
Of bearded hemlock boughs and royal pines,
The twin -flower traces with its slender vines
A pattern dimly seen
On carpet soft and green.
The springy moss
Retains slight impress of the trampling foot,
But thick on fallen trunk and buttress root
Slowly it creeps across
Decay, and hides all loss.
But here and there
A delicate pale flower turns its head
To sweetheart's kiss; more softly now we tread,
By fragrance made aware
Of the fond loving pair.

--from With Birds and Flowers
By Isaac Bassett Choate

The serene sweetness of these little twin blossoms has attracted to them many lovers. Linnaeus, with his abundant knowledge of the flowers, loved them better than any other and Gronovius bestowed upon them his family name. It would seem as though they exhaled the helpful love of a brother and sister which blooms with refreshed vigour every springtime.
The following tale is told of Linnaeus in connection with his fondness for them.
A friend gathering a small flower on the shore of a Swedish lake asked the great botanist if it were L. borealis.
"Nay," said the philosopher, "she lives not here, but in the middle of our largest woods. She clings with her little arms to the moss, and seems to resist very gently if you force her from it. She has a complexion like the milk-maid; and oh ! she is very, very sweet and agreeable."

--from A Guide To The Wild Flowers
by Alice Lounsberry

(LINNEA. July)

LiNNEA, of fairy mould and breath divine,
Dear foster-child of him who gave his name
With dower of love to thee ; his fading fame
Thou dost revive at many a wayside shrine,
Where from thy lowly altars incense fine
Floats on the air ; so sweet it well might shame
Jasmine or pink, whose Odors are but tame,
Matched with that fragrance pure and wild of thine.
Well may the wanderer pause to breathe a prayer
Above that marvel of thy light-poised bells
So sweetly twinned. How clear, to him who heeds,
God's universal thought is written there:
The twofold life that in all Nature dwells,
The primal law, that each the other needs !

--from Wild-Flower Sonnets
By Emily Shaw Forman


I LABORED, delving, sowing,
To plant a garden wee
Of seedsman's flowers for showing:
The wild-flowers laughed at me.
I caught the witches growing
Around a shattered tree
A thousand twin-flowers meeting
In fairy folk-mote there;
They nodded me a greeting,
And fragrance filled the air:
"We came without your weeting,
We thrived without your care."

--from Lips of Music
By Charlotte Porter