PSALAKANTHA (Psalacantha) was a Naiad-nymph of the Aegean island of Ikaria (Icaria). Dionysos sought her assistance when he was wooing Ariadne on Naxos. However, when the god spurned Psalakantha's own advances, she tried to drive Ariadne from him and as punishment was transformed into a plany-plant.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 5 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) (trans. Pearse) (Greek mythographer C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"As for the psalakanthos, it's an Egyptian plant which gains health and victory when used to decorate horses. It is said, on the other hand, that Psalakantha (Psalacantha) was a Nymphe of the isle of Ikaros (Icaria) who, captured by Dionysos, helped him to obtain Ariane (Ariadne) on the condition that he should also belong to her, and Dionysos refused; Psalakantha took herself to Ariane and the irritated god turned her into a plany; then, feeling remorse, he wanted to honour this plant by placing it in the crown of Ariane, who took her place among the celestial constellations. As for the plant, some say it resembles the armoise, others the melilot."
- Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History - Greek Mythography C1st - 2nd A.D.
- Photius, Myriobiblon - Byzantine Greek Scholar C9th A.D.