Cerato details

Latin Name: Ceratostigma willmottianum

Group: The First Twelve Essences

Emotional Group: Uncertainty

Failing: Self- distrusting

Personality: Foolish

Virtue: Wisdom

Method: Sun


Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided. [Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936]


Cerato will help you to find your individuality, your personality, and, freed from outside influences, enable you to use the great gift of wisdom that you possess for the good of mankind. [Bach]

State of Being

People who are too easily influenced. For those who have no confidence in themselves, depend too much upon the advice of others and listen first to one and then to another. Their own lack of self-esteem makes them admire and trust too much any who hold strong views; they can easily be led into difficulties on this account. In illness they are quite sure one thing will cure them until they hear of another, and they rush from one trial to the next according to the latest advice. They will do almost anything good or bad for them if the argument is forcible enough. They do not trust their own good judgement. Instead of having their own wishes and desires they will so often quote what others have advised or thought. The ideas and opinions of others are too important to them and this robs them of their own personality. They will always have some excuse for all they do. [Bach]



Responds to warm, sunny conditions and so will grow best in a sheltered position. It is cultivated in gardens as an ornamental shrub.

Cerato is not native to Britain and is only found on one or two private estates and public gardens such as Kew or Hampton Court (the south garden). In recent years it has been selected for promotion by some nurseries and has been in seen in street gardens in London. However, it is still a specialist’s plant.

Cerato - Form and Function

The flower head of the Cerato is composed of spiky bracts from which the flower buds emerge. The structure here is reminiscent of the Clematis flower and speaks of the same need to focus the energy into a centre. This focussing is also apparent on the petals where a herringbone pathway points to the centre of the flower. With Chicory we noted the significance of flowers that acted as an acid-alkali indicator. Cerato flowers, which only last a day, often collapsing by noon in the heat, deepen their colour to purple as they close. Here, again, we see the changeable, perhaps evolving, nature of Cerato. As the petals close and the flower collapses they twist into a spiral and form a focus of indrawn energy and meaning. This is a plant that wants to learn and understand.

All these considerations can have found scant part in the thinking of Dr Edward Bach when he saw the plant growing in the seaside gardens at Overstrand. We might easily think that the plant simply called to him: “come and look, here I am”. But even that assumes a self-knowledge on the part of the plant – it is just that self-knowledge that the Cerato people seek through their experience of life on earth. It is their soul lesson.