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Knowledge of plant names can give insight into largely forgotten beliefs. For example, the common red poppy is known as "Blind Man" due to an old superstitious belief that if the poppy were put to the eyes it would cause blindness. Many plant names derived from superstition, folk lore, or primal beliefs. Other names are purely descriptive and can serve to explain the meaning of the botanical name. For example, Beauty-Berry is the name given to the American shrub that belongs to the genus Callicarpa. Callicarpa is Greek for beautiful fruit. Still other names come from literary sources providing rich detail of the transmission of words through the ages. Conceived as part of the author's wider interest in plant and tree lore and ethnobotanical studies, this fully revised edition of Elsevier's Dictionary of Plant Names and Their Origins contains over 30,000 vernacular and literary English names of plants. Wild and cultivated plants alike are identified by the botanical name. Further detail provides a brief account of the meaning of the name and detailed commentary on common usage. * Includes color images * Inclusive of all Latin terms with vernacular derivatives * The most comprehensive guide for plant scientists, linguists, botanists, and historians
SOme entries include information on uses and symbolism.
Plants have had symbolic as well as practical meanings and uses since the beginning of human civilisation. This vivid account introduces readers to a rich variety of British and Irish plant folklore, drawing on Roy Vickery's own unsurpassed archives collated over forty years, and a wide range of historical and contemporary literature. Unlike other books which re-use material collected in the Victorian era, this book is based on new material collected by the author, and shows that while some of the wilder superstitions have faded we still cling to the symbolic importance of plants. Putting conkers in wardrobes keeps moths away, and parsley - the Devil's plant - only germinates if sown on Good Friday. A potato in the bed helps do away with cramp and in Cornwall crawling under a bramble bush was considered a cure for blackheads. From plants that foretold births and deaths, to herbal remedies, planting and harvesting rituals, friendship bushes and festive garlands this is a book of rich and living social history and folklore.
The author gathers together a wealth of material from mmanuscripts, letters, diaries and personal interviews which collectively reveal a detailed picture of the use of domestic remedies in Britain.
This accessible new work explores the whole of Celtic mythology, legend, saga, and folklore.
In 1976 John Raven presented four Grey Lectures at Cambridge University which sought to reappraise long-accepted identifications of ancient names for modern plants. These lectures, plus another given in 1971, form the main focus of this book and many of the issues raised within them are discussed further by William Stearn, Nicholas Jardine and Peter Warren, taking account of more research. Also includes an additional two papers by Alice Lindsell, as well as illustrations from her
The dictionary contains about 30,000 vernacular and literary English names of plants (plus a few American), both wild and cultivated, with their botanical name and a brief account of the names' meaning if known. It was conceived as part of the author's wider interest in plant and tree lore, and ethnobotanical studies. Knowledge of plant names can give insight into largely forgotten beliefs. Why for example is, or was, the common red poppy known as "Blind Man"? An old superstition has it that if the poppy were put to the eyes it would cause blindness. Such names were probably the result of some taboo against picking the plant. Similarly, other names were likely to have been applied as a result of a country mother's warning to her children against eating poisonous berries. For the warning carries more weight when the name given to the berry reinforces the warning. Many such plants or fruits may be ascribed to the devil, Devil's Berries for Deadly Nightshade is an example. Names may also be purely descriptive, and can also serve to explain the meaning of the botanical name. Beauty-Berry is an example: it is the name given to the American shrub that belongs to the genus Callicarpa, which is made up of two Greek words that mean beauty and berry. Literary, or "book" names, have also been included in this dictionary, as being a very important part of the whole. Many of them provide links in the transmission of words through the ages. Thor's Beard, for example, is a book name for "houseleek", and has never been used in the dialect. But it highlights the legend that houseleek is a lightning plant, and by reverse logic is a preserver from fire.

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