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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Comparing modern habitat information with
that provided in Pseudo-Apuleius

 

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Acanthus mollis

Bear’s breeches

cliii, p 278

Acanta leuca

Dry areas, roadsides and railroad banks, scrub

on staenigum stowum 7 on dunum

In stony places & on slopes

Achillea

millefolium

Yarrow

clxxxv, p 306

Achillea

Meadows, pastures, open woods, banks, waysides

on beganum stowum 7 neah waetere

In cultivated places & near water

Ajuga chamaepitys

Ground pine, Yellow bugle

clii, p 278

Hypericon

Corion

 

Bare chalk, sandy and chalky cultivated fields, downs

on beganum stowam

in cultivated land


Pliny says hyperī
con is "a plant, called also chamaepitys and corion"

Alchemilla vulgaris

Bear's foot, Lady’s mantle

viii, p 98

Leonfot

Pes lionis

High ground; also moist, hilly pastures and by streams

on feldum 7 on dicon 7 on hreodbeddon

In fields & on dykes/in ditches, and in reed beds

Althea officinalis

Marsh mallow

xxxix, p 140

Mersc mealuwe

Hibiscum

Salt marshes, damp meadows, brackish ditches, grassy sea shores and tidal river banks

on fuhtum stowam 7 on feldum

in damp places & in fields

Anacyclus pyrethrum
False pellitory
lxi p 164

Asterion

Dry grasslands, heaths, moderately acid soils

betweoh stanum 7 on unsmethum stowum
Among stones & on unsmooth places
Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Anchusa officinalis

Alkanet

clxviii, p 298

Ancusa

Roadsides, pastures,  waste ground, field margins

on beganum stowum 7 on smethum

in cultivated places & in smooth

Aristolochia

clematitis
Birthwort

xx, p 114

Smerowyrt

Aristolochiam

Thickets, field edges, chalky slopes, sunny sites locations, beside hedges, cultivated fields

on dunlandum 7 on faestum stowam

in hilly land & in secure/enclosed places

Artemesia absinthium

Wormwood

cii, p 216

Wermod

Absinthium

Rough ground, waste places, roadsides

on beganum stowum 7 on dunum 7 on staenilicum stowum

in cultivated places & slopes & stony places

Artemesia dracunculus

Tarragon

xv, p108

Dracentse

Dracontea

Warm, dry, rocky areas, hillsides, waste ground

on ufeweardum muntum waer baerwas beoth swythoston haligum stowum

in high mountains where bowers are mightiest in sacred places

Artemesia vulgaris

Mugwort

xi, p 102

Mucgwyrt

artemesiam

Hedgebanks, waysides, rough ground, waste places

on stanigum stowum 7 on sandigum

in stony places and in sandy

Artemesia vulgaris

Mugwort

xiii, p 104

Mucgwyrt

Artemesia leptefilos

Hedgebanks, waysides, rough ground, waste places

abuton dicon 7 on ealdum beorgum

around dykes & on old barrows

Blackstonia perfoliata

Yellow-wort

clxvii, p 296

Zamalentition

Grasslands, bare chalk, dunes

staenigum stowum 7 on dunum

stony places and on hillsides

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Bistortis officinalis

Bistort

vi, p 96

Naedre wyrt

Viperinam

Naedderwyrt

moist meadows; swampy, fertile woods

on waetere 7 on aecerum
in wet [places] & in fields

Calendula officinalis

Calendula, Marigold

L, p 152

Heliotrophus

Vertamnum

Sigel hwearfa

Gardens,  waste ground; any soil

gehwaeron beganum stowum 7 on claenum 7 eac on maedum

everywhere in cultivated fields & smooth & also in meadows

Cannabis sativa

Hemp

cxvi, p 228

Henep

Canuere

Cannane silfatica

River deposits on stony slopes; nitrogen-rich soils near human habitation

on witherraedum stowum with wegas 7 hegas

in wilderness places beside walls & hedges

Carduus arvensis
Creeping plume thistle, Way thistle

cxi, p 224

Wudu thistel

Carduum sylvaticum

 

Cultivated fields and waste places

on maedum 7 with wegas

in meadows and beside roads

Centaurium erythraea

Centaury

xxxvi, p 134

 

Curmelle feferfuge

Centaurium minorum

Curmelle seo laesse

Grassy, open ground on well-drained soils, dry pastures, chalky cliffs

 

on faestum landum 7 on strangum

in enclosed land & in fertile

 

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Colchicum autumnale

Meadow saffron

xxii, p 118

Greate wyrt

Hieribulbum

Damp meadows and open woods on rich soils; likes limestone

abut heogan 7 on fulum stowum

around hedges & in swampy/foul places

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

clxix, p 134

Coliandre

Psillios

 

Fields and waste places, riversides

on beganum stowum

in cultivated places

Cucumis melo

Melon

cxv, p228

Hwerhwette

Cucumerem silvaticum

Sandy, well-drained soil, full sun

on beganum stowum neah sea 7 on hatum stowum

in cultivated land near the sea & in hot places

Cyclamen hederafolium
Ivy-leaved cyclamen

xviii, p110

Slite

Orbicularis

Hedge banks and open woods

on beganum stowum 7 on dunlandum

in cultivated land & in hilly land

Cynoglossum officinale

Houndstongue

xlii, p144

Hundes tunge

Buglossan

Glofwyrt

Lingua bubula

Open ground, often on sand, shingle or limestone; waste ground

on beganum stowum 7 on sandigum landum

in cultivated land & sandy land

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Daphne laureola

Spurge laurel

cxiii, p226

Gyth corn

Lactyridum

Woods, calcareous or clayey soils

on beganum stowum 7 on sandigum

in cultivated land & sandy land

Echinocloa crus galli

Barnyard grass

xlv, p148

Attorlathe

Galli crus

Cultivated fields,

roadsides, ditches,  disturbed areas, riverbanks, shores of lakes and ponds

on faestum stowum 7 with wegas

in enclosed places & beside roads

Eringium maritimum

Eryngo, Sea holly

clxxiii, p302

Eringius

Sandy seashores and shingle

on feldon 7 on witherraedon stowum

in fields and in wilderness places
 

Pliny also calls eryngius  sea holly, but Apuleius says eringius has a hnesce [soft] leaf, and the habitat described also makes this ID less certain.

Eringium maritimum

Eryngo, Sea holly

clxxxii p 318

 

Gorgonion

Sandy seashores and shingle

on diglon stowum 7 on waeton

in shady places & in wet

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Euphorbia lathyris

Caper spurge

cx, p 222

Lacterida

Titymallos calatites

 

Waste places, gardens, roadsides, disturbed areas, cultivated land

on watum stowum 7 on ofrum

in wet places &  on riverbanks/seashores

Fragaria vesca Strawberry

xxxviii, p 138

Streowberian

Fraga

Sheltered places in woods, scrub, and hedgerows

on dihglum stowum 7 on claenum 7 eac on dunum

In shady places & in smooth & also on slopes

Galega officinalis

Goat rue

cxxxvii p 239

Lith wyrt

Erifion

 

Waste ground, grassy places

on unbeganum stowum 7 na on waetum

on untilled places and not in wet

Heliotropus eurpaeum

Turnsole, heliotrope

cxxxvii, p254

Sigil hweorfa

Eliotropus

 

Cultivated fields, fallow and waste ground, roadsides

on faettum landum 7 on beganum

in rich land & in cultivated

Humulus lupulus

Hops

lii, p 154

Hymele

Cultivaled land, hedgerows, scrub, swampy land

on ealdum hus stedum 7 eac on fuhtum stowum

in old housesteads & also in damp places

Hyoscyamus niger

Henbane

V, p 94

Henne belle

Symphoniaca

Cultivated land, wasteland, sandy places, roadsides,  rubbish heaps, near old buildings, seaside sand and shingle

on beganum landum 7 on sandigum landum 7 wyrttunum

in cultivated land & sandy land & gardens

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Lactuca

Wild lettuce

xxi, p 128

Wudu lectric

Lactucam silfaticam

 waysides, banks, waste and rough ground

on beganum stowum 7 on sandigum

in cultivated land & in sandy

Lupinus angustifolius
Blue lupin
cxii p 226

Lupinum montanum

Cultivated fields, dry land, abandoned fields, roadsides, light and sandy soil

with hegas 7 on sandigum stowum

Beside hedges & in sandy places

Lysimachia nummularia
Moneywort, Creeping Jenny

clxii, p 290

Centimorbia

Damp places, meadows, stream banks, roadsides, ditches, woodland borders, thickets

on beganum stowum 7 on staenigum 7 that on dunum 7 on wynsumum stowum

in cultivated land & stony & that in hilly land & in pleasant places


Cockayne identifies Centimorbia as L. nummularia; might also be Myrrhis odorata, sweet cicely.

Malva silvestris

Mallow

xli, p 142

Hocleaf

Malvae erraticae

Waste and rough ground, roadsides, banks

aeghwaeron beganum stowum

anywhere in cultivated land

Malva sylvestris

Mallow, Pink mallow

cli, p 276

Omnimorbia

Polios

Waste and rough ground, roadsides and banks

on dunum

on slopes

Melilotus offiinale

Melilot, Yellow sweet clover

clxxxiii, p 320

Melotis

Sunny, dry, alkaline soil, waste places, chalky banks, abandoned fields, roadsides

on beganum stowum 7 on waetum

in cultivated land & in wet

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm

cliv, p 280

Beowyrt

Acanton

Well-drained sandy soil, gardens

on wynsumon stowum 7 on waetum 7 eacon staenigum

In pleasant places & in wet & in stony

Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm

vii p 96

Beowyrt  Veneriam

Well-drained sandy soil, gardens

beganum stowum 7 on wyrtbeddum 7 on maedum

in cultivated places & in gardens & in meadows

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Daffodil

clxxxiv p 321   

Bulbus

Woods, grassland, rocky ground

on uferweardum muntum 7 thiccon bearwum

On high mountains & thick bowers

Nasturcium officinale

Watercress

xxi, p 116

Caerse

Nasturcium

Streams, ditches and marshes; running water

Theos wyrt ne bith sawen ac heo of hyre sylfre bithon wyllon 7 on brocen eac hit awriten ys that heoon sumum landon with wagas weaxen wylle

This plant is not sown except by itself in springs & in brooks & also it is written that it in some lands it will grow beside walls

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Orchis mascula

Long purples, Early purple orchid

XVI, p108

Hreafnes leac

Satyrion

Neutral or alkaline grassland, woodland, scrub

on hean dunum 7 on heardum stowum 7 swa some on maedum 7 on begannum landum 7 on sandigum

on high slopes & in harsh places & also in cultivated land and in sandy

Parietaria officinalis

Pellitory of the wall

lxxxiii, p 186

Dohlrune

Perdicalis

Neglected woods,  hedgerows, dry walls, stony wastes

with wegas 7 with weallas 7 on beorgum

beside paths & beside walls & on barrows 

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip

lxxxii, p186

Feld moru

Pastinace silvaticae

Chalky grassland, roadsides, rough ground

on sandigum stowum and or beorgum

in sandy places & on barrows

Polygonum aviculare

Knotgrass

xix, p 112

Unfortraedde

Proserpinaca

Common in farm fields, waste ground, roadsides

gehwaeron beganum stowum 7 on beorgum

everywhere in cultivated land & on barrows

Polypodium vulgare

Polypody fern

lxxxv, p 188

Efor fearn

Radiolus

Sheltered places,  shady banks, tree stumps, moist stony land, old walls

on stanigum stowum 7 on ealdum hus stedum

in stony places and in old building sites

Potentilla erecta

Tormentilla

cxviii, p 232

Seofen leafe

Septifolium

Eptafilon

Dry pastures, woods, hedges

on beganum stowum 7 on sandigum landum

in cultivated places and sandy land

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Ranunculus acris

Common buttercup

x, , p 100

Cluf wyrt

Batracion

Grassland, especially damp and calcareous

on sandigum landum 7 on feldum

in sandy land & in fields

Ranunculus scleratus

Celery-leaved buttercup

IX, p 98

Clufthunge

Sclerata

Marshy fields, ditches, ponds, streambanks

on fuhtum 7 on waeteregum stowum

in damp & in watery places

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary

lxxxi p 185  

Bothen Rosmarinum

Light, dry soils,  sheltered places, such as beside walls

on sandigum landum 7 on wirt beddum 

in sandy land & in gardens

Rumex acetosa

Garden sorrell

xiv, p 106

Doccae

Lapatium

Iron-rich pastures, short grassland, roadsides, riverbanks, cultivated land, mostly on acid sandy soils

on sandigum stowum 7 on ealdum myxenum

in sandy places & on old dungheaps

Ruta graveolens

Rue

cxvii, p 230

Rude

Rutam montanam

Rocky, well-drained soils; hills

on dunum 7 unbeganum stowum

on slopes & uncultivated places

Sambucus ebulus

Dwarf elder

xxix, p 124

Lythwyrt

Ostriago

Waysides, rough wasteland, hedges, ruined foundations of old buildings

abutan byrgenne 7 on beorgum 7 on wagum waera husa the with duna standath

around burial mounds & on barrows & on walls where houses they were beside hills standing

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Saxifraga granulata

Meadow saxifrage

XCIX, p 212

Sundcorn

Saxifragam

Meadows, old alkaline grasslands, moist but well-drained fields

on dunum 7 on faenihtum stowum

in hilly land & in fenny places

Sempervivum tectorum
Jove’s beard, Houseleek 
cxxxix p 256

Ayzon

Mountains, stony places, house roofs

on wagum 7 on stenigum stowum 7 on dunum 7 on ealdum byrgenum
On walls & in stony places & on hills & on old barrows   

Sempervivum tectorum
Jove’s beard, Houseleek

xclvii, p 270

Aizon

Woods, hedges, banks, stony fields, hills

on dunum 7 heo eac bith hwilon on wealle geseted

in hills & it also sometimes set on walls

Senecio vulgaris

Groundsel

lxxvii, p 180

Grunde swylige

Senecio

Rough, open ground; tops of walls, waste ground, gardens

on hrofum 7 onbutan wagum

on roofs and around walls

Silene gallica

Catchfly
Lxi p 164

Asterion

Waste places, cultivated land, open sandy ground
 

betweoh stanum 7 on unsmethum stowum

Among stones & on unsmooth places

Sium latifolium

Water hemlock

cxxxvi, p 254

Laber

Sion

Ditches, swamps, fens

on waetum stowum

in wet places

Sonchus oleraceus

Sow thistle

cxiv, p 226

Lactucam

Lactucam leporinum

Disturbed land, fields, pastures, roadsides, gardens, waste places

on beganum stowum 7 on sandigum

in cultivated places and in sandy

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Stachys officinalis

Betony

I, p 70

Betonicam

Hedges, banks, woods, grasslands, moors; avoids heavy soils

on maedum 7 on claenum dunlandum 7 on gefrithedum stowum

in meadows & on smooth hilly land & in guarded places

Symphytum officinale

Comfrey

lx, p 162

Galluc

Confirman

Stream and river banks, marshy places, ditches, rough ground

on morum 7 on feldum and eac on maedum

in moorland & in fields & also in meadows

Teucrium chamaedris

Germander

xxv, p 120

Heort claefre

Chamedris

Chalky soil, grassland gardens, old walls, dry banks

on dunum 7 on faestum landum

in slopes & in enclosed land

Teucrium scorodonia

Sage-leaved germander

clxiii, p290

Scordias

Woodlands, sandy soils,land and acid heaths

on morum

in moorland

Teucrium polium

Felty germander

lviii, p 160

Polion

Arid hills, deserts, sandy places, sea shores

on unsmethum stowum

in rough/unsmooth places

Ulex europeus

Gorse, furze, whin

cxlii, p 262

Gorst

Tribulus

Grassland, heath, open woods; dry  sandy or peaty soil

on wyrtunum other ut on felda

in gardens or out in fields

Umbilicus rupestris

Navelwort

xliv, p 146

Umbilicum veneris

Cotiledon

Rocks, walls, stony  banks

on hrofum 7 on beorgum

on roofs & on barrows

Scientific name1
Common name
Chapter, page

Name2
Pseudo-Apuleius

Habitat3
current sources

Habitat
Pseudo-Apuleius

Veratrum album

White hellebore

cxl, p 258

Tunsing wyrt

Elleborum album

Wedeberge

High, wet  meadows, swamps, stream banks

on dunum

in hills

Verbascum thapsus

Great mullein, Hag taper

lxxiii, p 174

Felt wyrt

Verbascum

Chalky soils, waste ground, banks, grassy places, roadsides, gravel, sand

on sandigum stowum 7 on mixenum

in sandy places & on dunghills

Verbena officinalis

Vervain

IV, p 90 

Vermenaca

Aeschrote

Bare ground, rough land, roadsides, grassland, well-drained calcareous soil

gehwaeron smethum landum 7 on waetum

anywhere on smooth land & wet

 

 

Glossary of frequently used terms from Pseudo-Apuleius

Aecer - Field, land, land that has been seeded

Aeghwaer, gehwaer - Everywhere

Baerwe - Grove, bower

Began - Cultivated, tilled

Beorg - Hill, mountain, barrow,  stone pile, burial, tumulus, sheltered place

Broc - Brook

Byrgene - Grave, burial mound

Claen - Clean, reaped, cleared

Dic - Dyke, ditch, bank

Dihglum  - Secret, concealed, shady

Dun - Hill, slope, hilly land; not feld, level land

Faeniht - Fenny, muddy

Faest - Secure, enclosed

Faet - Ornamental, rich, oily

Feld - Field, level land, opposite of dun

Fuht - Moist, damp, humid

Ful - Foul, swampy

Gefrithian - Guarded, protected

Halig - Holy, healthy

Hat - hot

Heard - Hard, stiff

Hege - Hedge, fence

Hreodbedd - Reed bed

Hrof - Roof, summit, highest part

Hus-stede - Site of a building; toft

Land - Property, cultivated land, rural  as opposed to urban

Maed - Meadow, hay ground (mowed; pasture is grazed)

Mixen - Dung heap; dung

Mor - Moor, damp waste land

Munt - Mount, hill, mountain

Ofer - Riverbank, seashore

Sandig - Sandy

Smethe - Smooth

Stanig, staenig - Stony, rocky

Stede - Place, spot, locality

Stow - A place, locality

Strang - Strong, fortis, powerful, fertile

Swith - Strong, flourishing, fertile

Ufeweard - Upper part

Unsmethe - not smooth, rough, uneven

Waet - Water, wet

Wag - A wall, usually of a building

Weall - Wall, usually of a building, a town

Weg – Way, path, road

Willa, wella, wylla - Well, spring, fountain

Witherraedum - Unpleasant, rough, wilderness

Wynsum - Agreeable, pleasant

Wyrtun - garden

 

1Plant identifications (which are not definitive) are based on information from The Dictionary of Old English Plant Names at http://oldenglish-plantnames.org/, and Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, at http://beowulf.engl.uky.edu/~kiernan/BT/bosworth.htm.

2Citations are from the Herbarium of Apuleius in Cockayne's Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England, available online at http://books.google.com.

 

3 Contemporary habitat information comes from:

 

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