What kind of plant was grown in the greenhouses of the imperial gardens in 1738 under the name “Rapintinul”? As always, the problem of translation intervened. In Latin this plant was called “Rapuntium” at that time. It was grown in two pots, and there was also a whole bed of seedlings in the greenhouses.

It was a plant from North America, Lobelia cardinalis L. – Lobelia purpurea, or Lobelia cardinalis. So the specific name of the plant was given for the color of the flowers, which coincided in color with the color of the mantles of the cardinals. The generic name Lobelia was given to this genus by the French botanist Charles Plumier in honor of the Dutch botanist Matthias de L’Aubel. It did not attach to this plant immediately.

It was originally called: Rapuntium Americanum, flore coccineo, Flos Cardinalis seu Trachelium Americanum rubrum, Rapuntium coccineum. Only in 1753, Karl Linnaeus gave this plant the modern name Lobelia cardinalis L.

Larisa Zharovskaya answered the question correctly. Thank you for your serious approach to solving our mysteries.

Enjoy your walks in the pre-New Year gardens of the Russian Museum.

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