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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 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.
Based on 25 years of research that combed every historical and anthropological record of Native American ways, this unprecedented culinary dictionary documents the food uses of 1500 plants by 220 Native American tribes from early times to the present. Like anthropologist Daniel E. Moerman's previous volume, Native American Medicinal Plants, this extensive compilation draws on the same research as his monumental Native American Ethnobotany, this time culling 32 categories of food uses from an extraordinary range of species. Hundreds of plants, both native and introduced, are described. The usage categories include beverages, breads, fruits, spices, desserts, snacks, dried foods, and condiments, as well as curdling agents, dietary aids,Ê preservatives, and even foods specifically for emergencies. Each example of tribal use includes a brief description of how the food was prepared. In addition, multiple indexes are arranged by tribe, type of food, and common names to make it easy to pursue specific research. An essential reference for anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and food scientists, this will also make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of wild and cultivated local foods and the remarkable practical botanical knowledge of Native American forbears.

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