“The Medella Flower"
The Medella flower has only been known to have been found on the small island of Cataros, near the West Indies in the Lesser Antilles archipelago. The flower’s name is derived from the Latin noun meaning healing. French explorer Antione Beauregard called the flower “Medella” upon his discovery of what had been known to the Cataros Islanders for years. The Medella flower was widely known to the native peoples of the island. In fact, they thought of this flower as a gift from their gods, and used the flower for food and to cure illnesses.
In 1775, French explorer Antione Beauregard traveled to the island Cataros in hopes of finding new resources. When he came across the foreign flower that was so precious to the islanders, he set his hopes on bringing the flower back with him to France. Although Beauregard was able to leave Cataros with one of the Medella flowers, it was lost to the sea when a bad storm hit his ship on the way back to France. Years later, Beauregard tried to get back to Cataros, but instead he ended up penniless and leaving behind the idea of getting back the Medella flower. Beauregard left behind several writings and illustrations on the Medella, that weren’t discovered until the 1930’s. American botanist Andrew Conners was living in France at the time when Beauregard’s writings were discovered. Intrigued, Conners left on a ship as soon as possible to find the Medella. Upon arriving at Cataros, Conners was left disappointed. To his dismay, the flower was no where to be found. His partner, Brock Kyles, worked to understand the Cataros natives and communicate with them about the flower. According to their research published by Harvard University in 1942, the islanders said they had used up all of flower. Indeed, due to the overuse of the Medella as a source of food and medicine, along with a harsh winter that had wiped out most of the crop years earlier, the Medella flower had died off and was now extinct.
Today, scientists and researches are looking for similar flowers with medicinal qualities. Dr. Emma Hirely, a medical professional at UC Berkeley who specializes in looking at the medicinal properties of flowers states, “If we had this Medella flower today, we would definitely be using it to help make new medicines and cures for a variety of illnesses” She also goes on to state how scientists are now looking for related flowers to the Medella, and to test whether or not they have any healing properties to them.