Wyrtig

For gardeners with a sense of history
 

OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312
.

  

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  Plant Names in Ælfric's Glossary
and Colloquy


Ælfric
, who was born in about 955 and died in about 1010 CE, is the most prolific of the early authors who wrote in Old English. Educated at Winchester, he went on to become the abbot of Eynsham, near Oxford, a position he held from 1005 until his death.

Among his many works are three whose focus was the teaching of Latin to students whose native language was English. Two of these works -- Ælfric's "Glossary" and his "Colloquy" (an exercise that called upon  students to practice their spoken Latin) -- provide side-by-side Latin translations of Old English plant names.

The plants named by Ælfric, in Latin and Old English, and tentative identification by modern scientific name, are provided below.

Plant Names in Ælfric's
Glossary and Colloquy

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

Old English
plant name

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow

Millefolium

Myrifilon

Centifolia

Gearwe

Gaeruwe

Aconitum napella

Monkshood

Aconita

Thung

Agrimonia eupatoria

Agrimony

Agrimonia

Garclife

Sticwyrt

Algae

Seaweed

Alga

Saewaur

Allium cepa

 

Onion

Cepe

Poletis

Enneleac

Hwileac

Allium porrum

Leek

Porrus

Porleac

Allium ursinum

Ramsons

Ramus

Ramusium

Ramesan

Boga

Alllium sativum

Garlic

Allium

Garleac

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Althaea officinalis

Stachys officinalis

Ammi maius

Bishopwort

Gerobotana

Gerussa

Biscopwertil

Sagmen

 

Anethum graveolens

Dill

Anetum

Dile

Dyle

Anthemis cotula

Foul wormwood

Herba putida

Maegtha

Anthemis nobile

Chamomile, Roman

Caluna

Maegtha

Anthriscus cerefolium

Chervil

Cerefolium

Caerfille

Antirhinum majus

Snapdragon

Cynocephaleon

Herotclaefre

Aphanes arvensis

Parsley-pert

Canicula

Argentilla

Apium graveolens

Celery

Apiaster

Wudumerce

Merce

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Arctium lappa

Great burdock

Lappa

Oxylapation

Amorfolia

Clate

Clyfwyrt

Ane cynnes clate

Aristolochia rotunda

A. clematis

Birthwort

Crispa victoriola

Smeringwyrt

Artemesia abrotanum

Southernwood

Aprotanum

Abrotanum

Suthernewudu

Artemesia absinthium

Wormwood

Absintium

Wermod

Artemesia vulgaris

Mugwort

Artemesia

Matrum herba

Mugwyrt

Astula regia

Woodruff

Astula regia

Wuderofe

Betonica officinalis

Betony

 

Seo laesse bisceop wyrt

Brassica

 

Colewort

Cabbage

Broad cabbage

Napus

Bibulcos

Magudaris

Arboracia

Caul

Wild naep

Naep

Cal

Brassica napus

Wild rape

Diptanmus

Wild naep

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Brassica rapa

B. campestris 

Turnip

Rapa

Lapsana

Naep

Cal

Calamintha nepeta

Mentha longifolia

Calamint

Field balm

Colocasia

Harewinta

Carduum sylvaticum

 

Thistle

Carduus

Elleborum

Veratrum

Thistel

Thystel

Wodethistel

Carex

Sedge

Carex

Lisca

Gerobotana

Secg

Sabium

Sagmen

Caricae fructus

Fig

Carica

Ficaeppel

Centaurea major

Centaury

Centaury

Curmelle

Centaurium erthraea

Small herder’s plant

Swain’s plant

Centauria minor

Banwyrt

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Centaurium erythaea

Earthgall

Centauria

Felterre

Eorthgealle

Citrullus colocynthis

Bryonia alba

Colocynth

Bryony

Bitter cucumber

Colochintida

Wylde cyrfet

Conium maculatum

Hemlock

Cicuta

Hemlic

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

Coliandrum

 

Corylus avellana

Hazel

Abellane

Corilus

Nucarius

Nux

Haesel

Haeselhnutu

Hnutbeam

Hnutu

Crataegus

Hawthorn

Alba spina

Haegthorn

Cucumis

Cucumber or melon

Cucumer

Hwerhwette

Cuminum cyminum

Cumin

Ciminum

 

Cimen

Cymen

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Cyperus papyrus

Bullrush

Papirus

Duthhamor

Daphne laureola

Euphorbia lathyris

Spurge laurel
Caper spurge

Citococia

Herba munda

Githcorn

Daucus

Carrot (root)

Cariota

Daucus

Waldmora

Wealmora

Echium vulgare

Viper’s bugloss

Camaleon

Wulfes camb

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Oleaster

Russian olive

Olea

Oliva

Oleaster

Elebeam

Unwaestmbaere elebeam

Elytrigia repens

Couch grass

Quitch grass

Gramen

Cwice

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Eupatorium cannabinum

Water agrimony

Ambrosia

Hindheolath

Ficus carica

Fig

Ficus

Ficbeam

Ficwyrt

Fictreow

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel

Feniculum

Fenol

Fynel

Fragaria vesca

Strawberry

Fraga

Streaberig

Streawberianwisan

Gentiana campestris

Field gentian

Apiago

Beowyrt

Gladiolus communis

Gladiolus

Pirus

Gladiolus laefer

Hedera nigra

Black ivy

Hedere nigra

Wudubinde

Heliotropium  europaeum

Heliotrope

Heliotropium

Solsequium

Sigelhwerf

Solsece

Solsaece

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Hyoscamus niger

Henbane

Simphonica s

Hennebelle

Ilex aquifolium 

Holly

Acrifolius

Ulcia

Holen

Inula campana

I. helenium

Elecampane

Helena

Nap silvatica

Horselene

Horsehelene

Sperewyrt

Wilde naep

Iris florentina

Iris, fleur de luce

Citsana

Fana

Iris germanica

Iris pseudacorus

Iris Purple flag
Iris Yellow flag

Gladiolum

Glaedene

Isatis tinctoria

Woad

Fucus

Sandix

Wad

Juglans

Walnut

Juglantis

Hnutu

Juncus

Rush

Scirpus, Scyrpus

Juncus

Aerisc

Resc, Risc

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Juniperus sabina

Savine juniper

Sabina

Savine

Lactuca sativa

L.  virosa

Lettuce

Sarrabum

Wild lactuce

Lagenaria

Gourd

Cucurbita

Cyrfaet

Lamium alba

Dead nettle

Archangelica

Blinde netle

Laurus nobilis

Bay laurel

Laurus

Laurbeam

Lauwerbeam

Levisticum officinale

Lovage

Libestica

Lubestica

Lufestice

Lilium

Lily

Lilium

Lilie

Lilige

Limonium

Statice

Ripa

Staeth

Lupinus alba

Lupin

Electrum

Electre

Elehtre

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Malus

Apple

Sour-sweet apple

Apple tree

Swale apple

Malus

Malomellus

 

Malus matranus

Swite apulder

Surmelst apulder

Apeldre, apulder

Swegles aeppel

Malva sylvestris

M. rotundiflora

Mallow

Malfa

Malva

Malva crispa

Malwe

Geormen-lectic

Symeringcwyrt

Mandragora

Mandrake

Mandragora

Eorthaeppel

Marrubium vulgare

Horehound

Marrubium

Prassium

Harhune

Mentha

Mint

Menta

Minte

Mentha aquaticae

Water mint

Altea

Eviscus  

Sisimbrium

 

Seominte

Balsmite

Mentha pulegium

Pennyroyal

Pollegia

Hylwyrt

Dweorgedwosl

Mespilus germanica

Medlar

Mespila

Openaers

Morus nigra

Black mulberry

Rubus

Morus

Morbeam

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Myrica gale

 

Sweet gale

Mirica

Haeth

Narcissus

Narcissus
Daffodil

Auris leporis

Epicurium

Halswyrt

Nasturtium officinale

Lepidum sativum

Water cress
Garden cress

Nasturtium

Cardamon

Cresco

Tunkerse

Caerse

Caerse, Kerse

Nepeta cataria

Catnip

Nepita

Naepte

Nymphaea

Water lily

Nimphea

Eadocca

Origanum vulgare

Marjoram

Origane

Origanum

Samum

Warmelle

Hylwyrt

Osmunda regalis

Royal fern

Salvia

Fenfearn

Papaver sp.

Papaver somniferum

Poppy

Papaver

Salunca

Papi, Papig

Wildpopig

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip

Pastinaca

Feldmora

Wealmora

Peganum harmala

Wild rue

Field rue

Pionia

Pionia

Persicarius

Peach tree

Persicarius

Persoctreow

Petroselinum crispum

Parsley

Petrocilium

Petrosilion

Petersylige

Stanmerce

Phragmites

Reed

Arundo

Calamus

Canna

Hreod

Pirus

Pear

Pirus

Pirige

Plantago

Plantain

Lapatium

Plantago

Polypodium vulgare

Everfern

Filix arboratica

Eferfern

Potentilla reptans

P. erecta 

Creeping cinquefoil

Cinquefoil

Little cinquefille

Quinquefolium

Pentufillon

Fifleafe

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Primula veris

Cowslip

Brittannica

Cusloppe

Prunus domestica

Plum

Coquimella

Nixa

Prunus

Plumtreow

Prunus dulcis

Almond

Amigdala

Nutida

Magdalatreow

Prunus cerasus

Cherry

Cerasus

Cyrstreow

Prunus spinosa

Sloe thorn

Black thorn

Pruniculus

Plumsla

Ranunculus sp

Potentilla reptens

Crowfoot

Creeping cinquefoil

Polipedium

Hremmesfot

Raphanus sativus

Radish

Radix

Rafanum

Raedic

Rhamnus cathartica

Buckthorn

Ramnus

Thifethorn

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Rosa

Rose

Rosa

Butunus

Rubus

Rose

Heope (hip)

Heopbrymel

Rubia tinctorum

Madder

Rubia

Vermiculi

Maeddre

Rubus fruticosa

Bramble

Blackberry

Mori

Flavi

Rubus

Blaceberian

Rumex acetosa

Sorrel

Dock

Acrocorium

Dilla

Docca

Docce 

Rusc

Rush

Pirorium

Laeferbed

Ruscum aculeatus

Butcher's broom

Genista

Sinpatus

Brom

Ruta graveolens

Rue

Ruta

Rude

Salix

Willow

Salix

Withig

Salvia officinalis

Sage

Salvia

Salvige

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Salvia sclarea

Clary sage

Sclaregia

Slarege

Sambucus ebula

Dwarf elder

Ebulum

Walwyrt

Satureia hortensis

Summer savory

Satirion

Sutherige

Saxifraga granulata

Saxifrage

Saxifraga

Sundcorn

Senecio vulgaris

Groundsel

Senecion

Sinitia

Sintea

Grundswelge

Grundswlige

Sinapis

Mustard

Sinapis

Senep

Solanum nigrum

Black nightshade

Strumus

Uva lupina

Nihtscada

Spirea ulmaria

Meadowsweet

Malletina

Medewyrt

Stellaria holostea

Stitchwort

Ostrago

Sticwyrt 

Stellaria holostea

Stitchwort

Alfa

Aethelfyrdingwyrt

Stellaria media

Chickweed

Modera

Cicenamete

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Symphatum officinale

 

Comfrey

Adriaca

Adriatica

Galluc

Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew

Febrefugia

Feferfugie

Tanacitum balsamita

Costmary

Balsam

Costa

Cost

Thymus serpyllum

Wild thyme

Serpillum

Fille

Tussilago

Colt’s foot

Caballopodia

Ungula caballi

Coltgraeig

Ulex Europaeus

Furze

Gorse

Ramnus

Fyrs

Verbascum

Hedge taper

Great mullein

Fromos

Lucernaris

Lucubros

Insana

Anadonia

Candelwyrt

Feldwyrt

Scientific name

Common name Latin plant name

OE plant name

Verbena officinalis 

Vervain

Annuosa

Verbena

Verbena

Aescthrotu

Sagmen

Biscopwertil

Veronica beccabunga

Brooklime

Fascia c

Leomue

Vitis vinifera

Grape, green

Ampelos leuce

Brionia

Hwit wilde wingeard

Hwit wingears

Vitis vinifera

Grape, red

Amplos male

Brabasca

Labarusca

Vitis

 

Blac wingeard

Wingerd

Vintreow

 

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