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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Plants Cited Most Frequently in
Six Early Sources

 

 

 

 

It is sometimes hard to know which plants were well-known and which were included only because they appeared in earlier manuscripts. Mention by several sources might suggest a plant was more broadly familiar.  The table below shows plants which appear in five of these six sources:

 

 

Plants cited in five of the six sources listed above

Agrimonia eupatoria

Agrimony

 

Lactuca sativa, L. virosa

Lettuce

Allium cepa

Onion

 

Lagenaria siceraria

Gourd

Allium oleraceum,
A. sativum

Garlic

 

Laurus nobilis

Bay laurel

Allium porrum

Leek

 

Levisticum officinale

Lovage

Althaea officinalis

Marshmalllow

 

Lilium spp.

Lily

Anethum graveolens

Dill

 

Malus spp.

Apple

Anthriscus cerefolium

Chervil

 

Marrubium vulgare

Horehound

Apium graveolens

Smallage

 

Mentha aquaticae

Water mint

Arctium lappa

Burdock

 

Mentha sylvestris

Mint

Artemesia abrotanon

Southernwood

 

Mespilus germanica

Medlar

Artemesia absinthium

Wormwood

 

Nasturtium officinale

Watercress

Artemesia vulgaris

Mugwort

 

Nepeta cataria

Catnip

Beta vulgaris

Beet

 

Papaver somniferum

Poppy

Brassica oleracea

Kohlrabi

 

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip

Brassica spp.

Coleworts

 

Petroselinum crispum

Parsley

Calendula officinalis

Calendula

 

Prunus dulcis

Almond

Carum carvi

Caraway

 

Prunus persicus

Peach

Cicer arietinum

Chick pea

 

Raphanus sativus

Radish

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

 

Rosa sp.

Rose

Corylus avellana

Hazel

 

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary

Cucumis sativa

Cucumber

 

Rubia tinctorum

Madder

Cuminum cyminum

Cumin

 

Ruta graveolens

Rue

Eupatorium cannabinum

Water agrimony

 

Salvia officinalis

Sage

Euphorbia lathyris

Caper spurge

 

Salvia sclarea

Clary sage

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel

 

Satureia hortensis

Summer savory

Iris germanica

Iris

 

Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew

Juglans ssp.

Walnut

 

Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy

Juniperus sabina

Juniper

 

Vicia faba

Fava bean

 

 

Of the plants cited in those six early medieval sources, many have been found on early sites in Britain.
These are listed with their earliest appearance in the archeological record.

Plant

Common
name

Context

 

Plant

Common
name

Context

Allium cepa

Onion

Prehistoric

 

Papaver somniferum

Poppy

Prehistoric

Allium oleraceum, A. sativum

Garlic

Anglo-Roman

 

Petroselinum crispum

Parsley

Roman

Allium porrum

Leek

Anglo-Roman

 

Prunus avium,

Cherry, bird

Prehistoric

Anethum graveolens

Dill

Roman

 

Prunus cerasus

Sour cherry

Prehistoric

Apium graveolens

Smallage

Roman

 

Prunus domestica

Wild plum

Roman

Artemesia absinthium

Wormwood

Roman

 

P. domestica institia

Sloe

Prehistoric

Asparagus officinalis.

Asparagus

Roman

 

Prunus dulcis

Almond

Early medieval

Beta vulgaris

Beet

Roman

 

Prunus persicus

Peach

Medieval

Brassica oleracea

Coleworts

Anglo-Roman

 

Pisum sativum

Garden pea

Prehistoric

Brassica napus Rape, canola Roman  

Raphanus sativus

Radish

Roman

Brassica nigra

Black mustard

Roman

 

Rosa sp.

Rose

Prehistoric

Brassica spp.

Coleworts

Pre-Roman

 

Rubia tinctorum

Madder

Pre-Roman 

Brassica rapa

Turnip

Prehistoric

 

Rubus fruticosus

Blackberry

Prehistoric 

Chenopodium album

Fat hen

Prehistoric

 

Rubus idaeus

Raspberry

Prehistoric 

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

Roman

 

Ruta graveolens

Rue

Roman

Corylus avellana

Hazel

Prehistoric

 

Sambucus nigra

Elderberry

Prehistoric

Cucumis sativa

Cucumber

Roman

 

Satureia hortensis

Summer savory

Roman 

Daucus carota

Carrot

Prehistoric

 

Thymus

 Thyme

Pre-Roman

Euphorbia lathyris

Caper spurge

Anglo-Roman

 

Triticum spelta,

Wheat, spelt

Pre-Roman

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel

Roman

 

Urtica dioica,

Nettle

Pre-Roman

Juglans regia.

Walnut

Roman

 

Verbena officinalis

Verbena

Pre-Roman

Malus spp.

Apple

Prehistoric

 

Vicia faba

Fava bean

Prehistoric

Malva moschata,

musk mallow

Pre-Roman

 

Viola spp.,

Pansy, violet

 

Mespilus germanica

Medlar

 Roman

 

Vitis vinifera

Grape

Prehistoric

Origanum vulgare

Marjoram

Roman

       
             

 

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Botanists are among those who know that, in spite of the rude shocks of life,
it is well to have lived, and to have seen the everlasting beauty of the world.
F.D. Drewitt

 

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