History and Lore: The genus Circaea is named after Circe, an enchantress featured in The Odyssey by Homer. Some say this plant was part of the potion she used to turn Odysseus’s companions into swine. Since this is a native American plant, I doubt she or Homer ever actually saw it. However, she is not the only Homeric hero associated with this herb. The common name Sorcerer of Paris and Paris Nightshade alludes not to the city in France, but to Paris of Troy from The Illiad. Enchanter’s nightshade is listed as an ingredient in many of the “ancient” herbals and magical compendiums, but berries are often mentioned. Since this plant has sticky burrs, not berries, one can only assume that these texts were referring to a different (probably European native) plant. Likely candidates include bittersweet nightshade Solanum dulcamara which is native to Europe and Asia and a noxious weed common throughout the United States or deadly nightshade aka belladonna Atropa belladonna which has a long history of use in medicine, magick and cosmetics. In the language of flowers, enchanter’s nightshade means witchcraft or sorcery.