Many of the genera are known as ornamental garden plants; such are Cheiranthus (wallflower), Matthiola (stock), Iberis (candy-tuft), Alyssum (Alison), Hesperis (dame's violet), Lunaria (honesty) (fig.
In 1534 Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, better known as Silken Thomas (so called because of a fantastic fringe worn in the helmet of his followers), a young man of rash courage and good abilities, son of the Lord Deputy Kildare, believing his father, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London, to have been beheaded, organized a rebellion against the English Government, and marched with his followers from the mansion of the earls of Kildare in Thomas Court, through Dame's Gate to St Mary's Abbey, where, in the council chamber, he proclaimed himself a rebel.
The principal other plants which bear the name are the wallflower, Cheiranthus Cheiri, called wall-gillyflower in old books; the dame's violet, Hesperis matronalis, called variously the queen's, the rogue's and the winter gillyflower; the ragged-robin, Lychnis Flos-cuculi, called marsh-gillyflower and cuckoo-gillyflower; the waterviolet, Hottonia palustris, called water-gillyflower; and the thrift, Armeria vulgaris, called sea-gillyflower.
His father was a poor hard-worked peasant; his mother "ad custodiam rei domesticae attenta, in opere alacris, in victu sobria, in potu abstemia, in verbo pauca, in factis pudica," as her son fondly says, kept a dame's school for the younger children of the town.
The poet appears to have attended a dame's school in earliest infancy, but on his mother's death, when he was six years old, he was sent to boarding-school, to a Dr Pitman at Markyate, a 1 Alderman Cooper thus spelt his name and all the family from that day to this, including the poet, have so pronounced it.