Plant Lore: Daisy to Lotus


(Daisy to Lotus)
Author’s Note:
This is not an article on herbology. It is a history of legend, folklore and
mythology surrounding a particular plant and/or parts thereof. Although, as
with all mythology, there are elements of truth behind the legends, in this case
one should be cautious about using this plant lore entry as a guideline to
medicinal herbs and plants. Seeking the advice from a professional botanist,
medical practitioner or herbalist concerning certain plants is best.
DAISY: Referred
to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower belonging to genus Angiospermae; products
from this family of flowers are cooking oils, lettuce, sunflower seeds,
artichokes, sweetening agents, coffee substitutes, and teas. The Latin name,
derived from the Greek Aster, which
means star. It describes the shape of
the flowers that include marigolds. The well-known lore is
plucking the petals of a daisy one by one each time stating “He/She loves me,
he/she loves me not”. Putting daisy roots under your pillow will produce a
vision dream of the future. Eating the first daisy of the season will bring
good luck for the rest of the year. Drinking a potion made from daisies will cure
madness, and is used for a myriad of minor ailments from curing warts to
restoring hair color. It is an ancient belief that daisies first sprouted from
the tears of Mary Magdalene (Magdalen). It is probably one of the oldest plant species in the world, the
stem group being up to 49 million years

called the Judas Tree; the tree Judas Iscariot hung himself from. Wood from an
elder tree was used to make the cross Jesus was crucified on. The Aspen tree is
also supposed to be the wood the cross was made of. (See ASPEN) This tree has contradictory folk tales, depending upon what
the region or culture may be. The tree’s unlucky reputation pre-dates
Christianity, however. Elder trees were supposed to provide protection from
lightning in a thunderstorm. Wood from the elder tree should never be used for
firewood because it will bring the Devil or his demons down the chimney. Boots
made from the wood will sink. If used to make a cradle, any baby in it will be
plagued by evil spirits. A bough of elder picked on the last day of April and
hung over a doorway will protect the house from evil. Amulets made from elder
wood will fend off witches because they detest the smell. However, witches
favor elder wood to make their wands. Horseman carry a twig of elder to prevent
saddle sores. Elder remedies include treatment of warts and rheumatism and
other healing powers. If boiled in milk, the bark will cure jaundice, and if
boiled in water it will cure epilepsy, according to English folklore.

Judas Tree
When referred to as a Judas
(Cercis silquastrum), it is
a small deciduous, flowering tree whose French common name is Tree of Judea,
which may be why it has been erroneously called Judas tree and confused as an
elm tree. This species has hard wood with an attractive grain, used in veneers.
The Judas tree is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia, also called the Mediterranean redbud. The eastern redbud
is native to the United States. The two species are similar in appearance. The
tree grows to 36 feet high and 30 feet in diameter. It produces flowers 3 to 5
inches long during the early spring. New leaves are reddish purple in color.
The bark is slightly purple and ridged when young. As the tree ages it turns a
blackish-gray color with numerous fissures. It is primarily used as an
ornamental tree, as well as a windbreak or a flowering border plant.
The Elder, Sambucus
genus, consists of genus between 5 and 30 species that are fast-growing shrubs
or small trees. The Box elder (Acer negundo) is a North
American species of maple. Ground Elder is a common edible garden perennial that is
considered a weed. Yellow Elder is
the Yellow Trumpet Bush.
ELM: Various elm
species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North
America and Eurasia as far south as Indonesia. This long living tree, the elm
was revered by the Norse as the source of the first woman, Embla, and is associated with other ancient traditions and
folklore. Farmers in England claim that barley should not be planted until elm
leaves are the size of a mouse ear. Native Americans recommend elm bark for the
treatment of sores and burns. Most notable elm species are American elm, Wych Elm, Dutch Elm, Field Elm, and English Elm.
general, wild flowers are part of folk medicine, spell making, and other
folklore. Giving a bunch of flowers is a sign of love, but also brings good
luck. Every month of the year has a designated flower that will bring luck to
those born at that time:
January: Carnation or PrimroseFebruary: PrimroseMarch: Daffodil and Violet

April: Daisy

May: Hawthorn and Lily of the Valley

June: Rose and Honeysuckle

July: Water Lily

August: Gladioli and Poppy

September: Aster and Convolvulus

October: Dahlia and Goldenrod

November: Chrysanthemum

December: Holly

It is unwise to give white flowers to a sick person. Actors
and actresses once disliked real flowers on stage thinking it unlucky.
fruit trees should be planted with the body of a dead animal at the roots, an
ancient English tradition.
GARLIC: Allium sativum is a species of onion,
genus Allium. It is a close relative to the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. For over 7,000 years,
humans have used garlic that is native to central Asia, a staple in the
Mediterranean region, and a seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was used
by the ancient Egyptians and has been used for both culinary and medicinal
purposes. It is an easy to grow bulb plant that produces seeds, but garlic
plants are usually propagated by planting a single clove. Garlic plants are
said to repel rabbits and moles. Two major pathogens attack garlic: nematodes
and white rot disease, which remains in the soil indefinitely after the ground
has become infected. Garlic can also suffer from pink root, a nonfatal disease
that stunts the roots and turns them pink or red. Garlic plants can be planted
grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, and can
be grown in containers with enough depth. It is important to pick large heads
from which to separate cloves. Large cloves and proper spacing will produce
large heads. Garlic plants grow best in high organic soil, but will grow in
many soil conditions. China is the largest
of garlic and supplies 77% of world supply. Most of the commercial
garlic production is in California (Gilroy). While the
bulb is the most used part of the plant, the leaves and flowers are edible with
a milder flavor than the bulbs. The roots are rarely eaten. Garlic is stored
warm (above 64° F) and dry to keep it dormant. It is traditionally hung, soft neck varieties are braided in strands called plaits or grappes. Peeled garlic may be stored in wine or vinegar in the
refrigerator. Garlic keeps longer if the tops remain attached.
Garlic is often
kept in oil to produce flavored oil, however, it requires measures to prevent
the garlic from spoiling. Untreated garlic kept in oil can support the growth
of Clostridium botunlinum, which is
deadly. Refrigeration will not ensure the safety of garlic kept in oil. To
reduce the risk, the oil should be refrigerated and used within one week.
Manufacturers of commercially prepared oils add acids and/or other chemicals to
the risk
of botulism. Two outbreaks of botulism related to garlic
stored in oils have been reported.Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions,
including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. Its
use in China dates back to 2000 BC.
Ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes consumed it. Garlic
was placed on piles of stones at crossroads hung above the door or in a shop to
ward off evil.
Garlic Wreath
According to Pliny,
the Egyptians at the taking of oaths invoked garlic and onions as deities.
Europeans believed garlic cloves ward off evil in the Medieval period, and the
French traditionally ate roasted garlic at Midsummer Eve parties. In the
Orient, as in Europe, garlic was used to repel witchcraft and vampires. Garlic
gathered in May, considered most effective, were hung above windows and
doorways, as well as hung around the neck to prevent vampires entering a house
and biting someone’s neck. Sicilians put garlic in the bed of a woman in labor
to ease the pain of childbirth. Native Americans once used garlic as a poultice
to treat rattlesnake bites and scorpion stings. Scientists have discovered that
garlic is an effective mosquito repellent. Those worried about garlic breath
eat mint leaves, parsley, or chew on a coffee bean. A regular diet of garlic
will reduce atherosclerosis and help maintain cholesterol levels. The Cherokee
used it for coughs and croup. Garlic helps to regulate
blood sugar levels. People taking insulin should not consume medicinal amounts
of garlic without consulting a physician. Garlic was used as an antiseptic to
prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II. Garlic cloves are used as
a remedy
for infections in the chest, digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as
thrush. Garlic reduces the chance of developing thiamine deficiency beriberi. In Hinduism and Jainism,
garlic is considered to stimulate and warm the body and to increase one’s
desires. Buddhist tradition dictates that garlic stimulates sexual and
aggressive drives that is detrimental to meditation
slow-growing perennial plant with fleshy roots belonging to the family Araliaceae. It is found in the Northern Hemisphere, in North
America, and eastern Asia (mostly Korea, Manchuria, Bhutan, and eastern
Siberia) – in cooler climates. True ginseng is the Siberian ginseng that has a woody
root instead of a fleshy one. The ginseng leaf is also used. Taken orally it is
supposed to provide
as an aphrodisiac, stimulant, treat type II diabetes, and for
sexual dysfunction in men. Ginseng is used in small doses in energy drinks. Ginseng
has possible side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, headaches, nose bleeds, high
blood pressure, low blood pressure, and chest pain. Ginseng may also produce
mania in depressed patients who mix it with antidepressants. It also has
adverse drug reactions with phenelziine and warfarin, but also decreases blood
alcohol levels. Symptoms of gross overdose of ginseng has been discovered. If
any of the following symptoms develop after taking large quantities of ginseng,
discontinue and seek treatment: nausea, vomiting, irritability, restlessness,
urinary and bowel incontinence, fever, increased blood pressure, increased
respiration, decreased sensitivity and reaction to light, decreased heart rate,
bluish facial complexion, red facial complexion, seizures, convulsions, and
delirium. Mild overdoses may cause headaches and blurred vision accompanied by
tremor. According to traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng promotes yin energy, cleans excess yang and calms the body. It is important that yin and yang are
balanced. The aromatic root resembles a small parsnip that forks as it matures.
The plant grows 6 to 18 inches tall. A list of herbs with known adverse effects
is available HERE.
Celtic lore, the hawthorn plant was used for rune inscriptions as well as the
Yew and Apple. In Ireland, the red fruit is, or was called Magory or Johnny MacGorey. In the United
Kingdom, the Hawthorn has been regarded as a symbol of hope, and it branches
was carried by ancient Greeks in wedding processions as well as being used to
decorate the altar of Hymenaios. In the book of Robert
Graces, The White Goddess, there are many European legends where the whitethorn (hawthorn) is the central
subject. Spikes of hawthorn are used in black magick rituals. The hawthorn
blossom does not have a sweet fragrance, so it was suspected that the plant
caused the outbreak of the Great Plague in London in 1665. It was not considered wise to
sit or stand beneath a hawthorn on All Hallows Eve (Hallowe’en) or any time
when malevolent spirits roamed Earth. It is also a hangout for fairies in
Celtic lore, and unlucky if cut down without permission of fairies that are
present. The tree is linked with May Day ceremonies.Legend has it that the first hawthorn tree took root at Glastonbury when St. Joseph of Arimathea struck the
ground with his staff. The tree at Glastonbury always blossomed at midnight on
Christmas Eve and was destroyed in the 17th century. Several
cuttings were taken from the original, replanted, and now considered holy.
Witch Hazel
HAZEL: This small
tree or deciduous shrub is effective in the defense against witchcraft
and evil spirits, an alternate description being witch-hazel – often confused with hazel tree/shrub. It is of
the family Hamamelidaceae with three species in
North America, one in Japan and China. The North American species rarely called
winterbloom. In Middle English, it was wiche (wyche) hazel. Used in England as a
synonym for Wych Elm. Hazel twigs were used as
divining rods in England, thus the evolution of the hazel into witch-hazel. A closely related tree is
the Persian ironwood.
The Hazel tree, native to temperate Northern Hemisphere, is considered part of
the birch family, Betulaceae. The nuts of all hazels
are edible. The common hazel is the specie most
commonly used for commercial nut production. Cultivars are grown from the common hazel in ornamental gardens.
Some hazel form contorted stems, popularly called Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. It has a gnarled appearance with
weeping branches and purple leaves.The Celts believed hazelnuts
provided wisdom and inspiration. One ancient
states that nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool, dropping
hazelnuts into the water that were eaten by salmon (a fish sacred to Druids)
that absorbed the wisdom. The number of spots on salmon indicated how many nuts
they had eaten. A Druid teacher caught one of these special salmon and asked a
student to cook the fish, but not to eat it. While he was cooking, hot liquid
from the cooking fish splashed onto the pupil’s thumb, which he naturally put
in his mouth to cool and absorbed the fish’s wisdom. This boy’s name was Fionn Mac Cumhall (Fin
) and went on to become one of the most heroic leaders in Gaelic mythology. In The
Hazel Branch
from Grimm’s Fairy Tales,
the hazel branch offers protection from snakes and other things that creep on
earth.The fruit of the hazel (witch-hazel) is a two-part capsule that contains glossy
black seed in each of the two parts. The capsule splits and “explodes” at
maturity in the autumn, eight months after flowering, which ejects the seeds to
a distance up to 33 feet (10 metres).

Welsh lore states that anyone who wears leaves or twigs of hazel in their hat
have good luck. Sailors believed that hazel wood or twigs brought to sea
prevented shipwreck. If nuts are put in the fire and jump in the air, one’s
lover is unfaithful. Where there is a good crop of hazelnuts many babies will
be born in the area that year.

species of this herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plant is surrounded
by tradition and attributed with magical properties. It is of the genus Helleborus. Its common name is Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) or Lenten
, but is not related to the rose family Rosaceae. Found in the wild as well as cultivated in gardens,
and can be seen in most of Europe from England to Spain and Portugal. The
greatest concentration of species is in the Balkans, and specie comes from
western China and another inhabits a small area on the border of Turkey and
Syria. They bloom in winter in certain climates and early spring, frost
resistant, most species being evergreen. Legends surrounding the hellebore involves
witchcraft, believing the plant has ties to summoning demons. In some places it
is called Christmas rose because legend has it that it sprouted in the snow
from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in
Bethlehem. IN Greek mythology, Melampus of Pylos used hellebore to save the daughters of the
king of Argos from madness, induced by Dionysus, causing them to run naked
through the city, crying and screaming. During the Siege of Kirrha in 585 BC, the Greek besiegers to poison the
city’s water supply used hellebore. The defenders, weakened by diarrhea, were
unable to defend the city. A theory has it that an overdose of medication
containing hellebore was what caused the death of Alexander the Great. Allegedly
white hellebore flowers are effective against leprosy, rabies, and epilepsy, as
well as preventing miscarriage.
Hemlock Tree
HEMLOCK: Conium genus is two species of highly poisonous
perennial herbaceous flowering plants, part of the family Apiaceae. It is also the name of a tree. It is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region, as
well as southern Africa (Conium chaerophylloides.
Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock or
just Hemlock) is a biennial plant and when crushed, the leaves and root emit an
unpleasant odor compared to parsnip. It contains the pyridine alkaloids coniine,
N-methylconiine, conhydrine, pseudoconhyrdine, and gamma-coniceine.
Probably the most famous tale about this plant comes from
ancient Greece, where hemlock was used to poison condemned prisoners. The most
famous victim of hemlock poisoning is Socrates the philosopher. He was condemned to death for impiety
in 399 BC and given a potent infusion of hemlock. Plato described Socrates’’ death in the Phaedo.
Poisonous Hemlock Plant
Hemlock is poisonous to both humans and animals. Poison hemlock has been used
as a sedative and for antispasmodic properties in limited amounts, as well as
by Greeks and Persian physicians to relieve arthritis. In animals, offspring
are born with malformations. Overdoes causes paralysis, loss of speech,
followed by depression of the respiratory function, and then death. The
difference between therapeutic and toxic amounts is marginal. Witches allegedly
use hemlock in spell making.
HEMPSEED and HEMP: This seed comes from a variety
of plants like Cannabis sativa. There
are 2000 varieties and about 90% of them contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp is used for paper, textiles,
clothing, biodegradable plastics, et cetera, in the modern world. Its seed was
chiefly used for divination in ancient and medieval times. In ancient English
lore, girls would go to a churchyard at midnight on All Hallows Eve and toss
hempseed over the left shoulder to get a vision of their future husband, as
they tossed the seeds, they would recite:

Hempseed sow, hempseed grow.
He that is to marry me,

Come after me and mow

If the charm worked, the spirit of the girl’s future husband
appeared with a scythe. If no one appeared, the girl will not marry, and is she
sees a coffin she will die before marriage. Sometimes Christian mythology can
be quite morbid, and much of it is derived from pagan customs.The hemp plant itself is one of the fastest growing biomasses
known. The leading nations that produce hemp is China, then Europe, Chile, and
North Korea. Hempseed is used as fishing
in some places. Hempseeds are eaten raw, ground into meal or made into
hemp milk (like soymilk). Fresh leaves are used in
salads, and in products like cereals, frozen waffles, et cetera.
Hemp, Cannabis (marijuana)
The United
States does not
consistently distinguish
between marijuana and industrial Cannabis, low-THC hemp. Hemp oil has anti-inflammatory
properties. Hemp plastic is used in automobile parts like interior of doors to
composite basin sinks in bathrooms. The Chinese as far back as 2,000 years made
hemp into paper. Hemp, in the modern world, is not made into commercial paper
because of its high processing cost, but some hemp pulp can be found in
cigarette paper, most being produced in the UK and Spain. Of course, sailing
ships used hemp rope extensively, protected with tar because hemp rope had a
tendency to break from rot. Sailors who performed the labor-intensive process
of tarring hemp rope were called Jack Tar. Hemp grows densely and
kills weeds, even the hardy thistle. Certain varieties of hemp has been used
for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Hemp seed and hemp seed oil is high in
protein and fatty acids and has no psychoactive properties as in the leaves. A
legal distinction is that hemp is legal, but Cannabis is not; however, in the United States a license is
required to grow hemp. Despite the federal DEA laws, some states have
authorized the cultivation of industrial hemp mostly due to its relation to
HENBANE: A plant
of the family Solanaceae, originating in Eurasia,
also known as stinking nightshade or black henbane. Historically, it was used
in combination of mandrake, deadly nightshade, and datura
as an anesthetic potion. Use of henbane by ancient Greeks was
documented by Pliny. The priestesses of Apollo
used the plant, recorded as Herba
, to aid oracles
in their powers. The name henbane
dates back to 1265, however the origins of the word are not clear. “Hen” refers
to death, not chickens and it is toxic like its associated varieties. Common
of henbane ingestion in humans include hallucinations, dilated
pupils, restlessness, and flushed skin. To animals, henbane is toxic as well,
and sometimes fatal. However, the Cabbage Moth can eat henbane with no ill effects. Until
replaced by hops in the 11th
to 16th centuries, henbane was used to flavor beer. In folk medicine, it
was used for toothaches, but only if vinegar was rinsed in the mouth first to
counter the toxic effects.
HOLLY: Genus of
400 to 600 species in the family Aquifoliaceae
of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropic to
temperate climate zones worldwide; holly used in Christmas decoration is
commonly the llex aquifolium. Stems
and berries are part of Christmas holiday décor, especially in wreath making.
Hollies are often grown as hedges, their spiny leaves acting as a natural fence,
and they are susceptible to pruning and shaping. The holly symbol in heraldry
signifies truth. Holly was cultivated between the 13th and 18th
centuries, before turnip production, for winter fodder for cattle and sheep
(variety with non-spiny leaves). Holly was once the traditional wood for making
the Great
Highland bagpipes
before cocuswood, ebony,
and African Blackwood. The Norwegian
city of Stord has a yellow twig of holly in its Coat-of-arms. Ancient
Celts used holly in winter solstice festivities and later adopted by the
Christians for Christmas, just as the Yule Log. Red berries signified Christ’s blood and the
evergreen leaves represented eternal life. Holly branches protected homes from
witchcraft and other evil things.
Scientific name is Sempervivum, also called Liveforever, of the Crassulaceae family. In the wild they live on sunny rocks and stony
places in mountain, subalpine, and alpine climate areas of Morocco to Iran and
the mountains of Iberia, Alps, Carpathians, Balkan, Turkey, Armenian, and
northeastern part of the Sahara Desert. In southern Europe you can see them
growing on walls or rooftops, and that is where they got their English name,
who believe it protects the house from lightning. In folk medicine juice from
the leaves, cools burns (like aloe), treats ulcers, sores, corns,
ringworm, and other minor ailments.
for their mop head and large round flowers, resembling pom-poms, it is a
familiar site in gardens across the United States, Asia, and Europe; especially
popular in China, Japan, and Korea. The species can be either deciduous or evergreen. The hydrangea is
moderately toxic if eaten. Reportedly, smoking the Hydrangea paniculata is intoxicating. In Japan, sweet tea is
made from Hydrangea serrate called ama-cha. Ama-cha is mainly used for the Buddha bathing ceremony
based upon the legend that on the day Buddha was born, nine dragons poured Amrita
over him; ama-cha is substituted for Amrita in Japan. Pink seems to be the most
popular color today. Folklore warns that hydrangea grown too close to the
house, is bad luck and their daughters will never marry.
IVY: This
evergreen climbing plant or ground-creeper is of the family of Araliaceae, genus Hedera. When on the ground they creep over rock outcrops and
man-made structure. When Ivy climbs trees, rock faces, and wooden structures
they can climb to at least 30 metres above the ground. Flower stems bloom best
when they reach full sun in the tops of trees. The flowers are greenish-yellow
and produce umbels in autumn to early winter that are rich in nectar. The
fruit is greenish-black, sometimes dark purple or rarely, yellow berries. The
seeds are dispersed by birds which eat the berries.Ivy plants are native to Eurasia and north Africa and were introduced to North
America by European colonists, where they have become invasive in some areas.
The most common ornamental specie (Hedera
) has white-edged, three-point leaves that are used in gardens
and growing on brick- or stone-faced homes. The plant attracts wildlife like
thrushes, blackcaps, woodpigeons, and the Swallow-tailed Moth whose larvae (and
other moth larvae) eat the leaves of some species. There are several popular
garden species listed at the Wikipedia entry. In North America
Ivy can cause harm and create problems, where the plant is without the natural
pests and diseases found in Europe. Aerial roots and trunk growth on stacked
stone, brick or stone and mortar, and stucco-plastered walls cause damage;
although Ivy aerial roots will not damage walls that have been soundly mortared
when installed. Loose mortar will allow penetration of roots into the mortar
and weaken the wall. Modern Portland cement mortar is strong and long lasting,
but mortar older than the 1930s cannot sustain ivy aerial roots. On wooden
structures, Ivy grows between the boards and construction joints eventually
destroying the structure. Moisture and fungus is a secondary problem. Ivies
grow into dense, smothering evergreen that spreads quickly on the ground and in
trees. Ivies as ornamental plants is now discouraged or banned in California
and other states because of its invasiveness. The berries are moderately toxic
to humans. However, it has been used to kill breast cancer cells.In Ireland, ivy is used to get rid of corns (foot) by tying it around the corn
for a period of time and then digging out the corn. Sometimes ivy is made into
an infusion and then put on the corns. Ivy was considered sacred in ancient
times and was used as a poultice for wounds. The Ivy is linked to the ancient
Roman god, Bacchus (Dionysus). It is often used for funeral wreaths. Its folklore value
is a protection against evil, as well as treating colds, rashes, and cure
drunkenness. Drinking from a cup made of ivy wood will cure whooping cough.

The ivy wood was used for spoons and combs by eastern native
Americans (after Europeans brought it from the Old World) and for medicine; but
never burned because it was thought to bring on colder weather and storms.
ancient times and in many regions, juniper was considered to have protective
powers. According to legend, the infant Jesus was hidden from Herod’s soldiers
in the foliage of a juniper tree. Fox and rabbits (hares) frequently hide in
juniper plants to prove a safe haven. Smoke from burning juniper will ward off
evil spirits and disease. The berries keep snakes away. According to a Welsh
lore, cutting down a juniper tree will cause a death within one year. Potions
made from juniper are credited with relieving rheumatism, epilepsy, and liver
ailments. Allegedly it rejuvenates the elderly.It is a coniferous plant, genus Juniperas
of the cypress family – Cupressaceae. There are between
50-67 species distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic,
south to tropical Africa, and to the mountains of Central America. They vary in
size and shape from tall trees to low-spreading shrubs with long trailing
branches. The berries are red-brown or orange, but most are blue with an
aromatic smell and used as a spice. Ashe Juniper is sometimes called Cedar. In
the United States the twisted trunks of the Juniper tree is a common site in
eastern Sierra Nevada, like Rock Creek Canyon, California. The berries are used
for flavoring gin and some beers. Juniper berry sauce is used to flavor quail,
pheasant, veal, rabbit, and venison. Early prehistoric people lived in or near
juniper forests providing them food, fuel, and wood for shelter and utensils.
Many species are used in landscaping, and on of the popular species is used as bonsai.The Navajo tribe traditionally used juniper to treat diabetes. Animal
studies have verified the treatment in mice. Native Americans also used juniper
as a female contraceptive.
Nicholas Culpepper, a 17th
century herbalist, recommended ripened juniper berries for asthma and sciatica,
as well as to speed
. Juniper berries are steam distilled to produce an essential oil. Some of its chemical components are alpha pinene, cadinene, camphene, and terpineol. Juniper is woven into a
traditional cladding technique in Northern
Europe, such as Norway.

JAPONICA: (Camellia japonica) Japonica is a term for things related to Japan. The best known
and common species is Camellia japonica, sometimes called Rose of Winter and
belongs to the Theaceae family. It is
the official state flower of Alabama. In the wild, it is found in mainland
China, Taiwan, southern Korea, and southern Japan. It grows
in forests at altitudes
between 980 to 3,600 feet. It is a flowering tree
or shrub. Its fruit consists of a globe-shaped capsule with three compartments,
each with one or two large brown seeds. Fruiting occurs in September to October
in the wild.The genus Camellia was named after a
Jesuit priest and botanist, Georg Joseph Kamel. Engelbert Kaempfer, Chief Surgeon to the Dutch East India Company, first
brought the camellia to the West in 1692. It was introduced into Europe during
the 18th century after being cultivated in the Orient for thousands
of years. Robert James of Essex,
England, brought back the first live camellia to England in 1739. Carl Peter Thunberg donated four specimens to the Kew Botanic Gardens and in 1780; one
of those plants was given to the botanical garden of Pillnitz Castle near Dresden in Germany where it currently
stands 29 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter. The oldest tree in Europe of the
Camellia japonica species is in Campobello, Portugal, Caserta, Italy, and
Pillnitz, Germany. In the United States, camellias were first sold in 1807 as
greenhouse plants, later distributed for outdoor plants in the southern United
States. Cultivars have been produced that will tolerate colder climates of Zone
5 and Zone 6 winters. Camellias now grow in New England, Pacific Northwest, and
Ontario, Canada. If the soil is not well drained, the roots will
.In China, camellias are lucky symbols for the Chinese New Year, used as
offerings to the gods. Camellia was often worn in the hair of Chinese women
because it opened much later after the bud formed. It was thought to signify
that she would
not have a son
for a long time. The White Camellia Japonica flower was
popular in England, and Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna wrote a
poem about it. Juniper tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The tea is named Camellia
. It is used as a relaxant for sleeping better.

LEEK: This plant
is the national symbol of Wales and rich in ancient folklore of the Celtic
people. A warrior who smeared himself with leek juice (or garlic) would make
him less vulnerable to his enemies in battle. It belongs to the onion and
garlic family of vegetables. It has a mild onion-like taste and used
extensively for soup stock flavoring. The dark green portions is usually
discarded because of its rough texture, however, some sauté or add it to soup
stock. A few leek leaves tied with twine and other herbs forms a bouquet gami.Leek is usually sliced, then boiled, fried or used raw in salads, The slices
falls apart when cooked. Leeks are an ingredient of cock-a-leekie soup, leek and potato soup, vichyssoise, and plain leek soup. Because leek is the plant
symbol of Wales, it is found everywhere in that state’s cuisine; however, leeks
has returned elsewhere in the United Kingdom within the last 50 years, having
been ignored for centuries in favor of onions and garlic.Dried specimens of leek have been found at archaeological sites in Egypt, as
well as carvings and drawings showed that leek was part of ancient Egyptian
diet as far back as the 2000 BC. The leek was the favorite vegetable of Emperor
Nero, who ate it in soup or in
oil, believing it was beneficial for his vocal cords. [Pliny, Historia Naturalis, XIX, 33]

LEMON: Generally
referring to the fruit of a small evergreen tree native to Asia, whose origin
is a mystery. Historians
believe lemons first grew in Southern India, northern Burma, and China. Lemons
appeared in Europe near southern Italy around the 1st century AD in
the Roman Empire. Later they were introduced to Persia, then to Iraq and Egypt
about 700 AD. The lemon first recorded in literature in a 10th
century Arabic
treatise on farming
, used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. It
became widely distributed in Arabia and the Mediterranean region between 1000
and 1150. In the 15th century, the first
lemon trees began in Europe in Genoa. Christopher Columbus
brought lemon seeds to the Americas in 1493 to Hispaniola. In the 18th
and 19th centuries, lemon trees were increasingly cultivated
in Florida and California
.In 1747, James Lind
experimented on seamen suffering from scurvy determining that the disease,
caused by lack of Vitamin C, by adding
lemon juice to their diet
. Most common varieties are from different
regions: Bonnie
in San Diego County. Bush
lemon tree
in Australia. Femminello
St. Teresa
(Sorrento) is
native to Italy. Jhambiri (rough
or bush lemon) grown in South Asia. Lisbon
named after the city of Portugal. Meyer lemon is a cross between a
lemon and mandarin orange, discovered in 1908. Ponderosa lemon
from Maryland (USA). Verna lemon is a
Spanish variety, also grown in Egypt. The Yen Ben
is an Australian and New Zealand cultivar.Lemon oil is used in aromatherapy
and researchers found at Ohio State University that lemon oil does not influence the
human immune system
, but instead enhances mood. The juice of lemon has a
low pH, thus a good antibacterial. The juice is also used
for cleaning
; one-half of a lemon dipped in salt or baking powder brightens
copper and makes a good kitchen and bathroom deodorizer. Several lemons if
attached with electrodes will power a small digital
. In India folklore, lemon is used in traditional medicines.
Some plants have lemon fragrance: certain basil plants, Cymbopogon (Lemongrass),
Lemon balm, two varieties
of scented geranium,
Lemon thyme, Lemon myrtle, Magnolia grandiflora,
and Lemon verbena.

An English folk tale from the 18th century claims that the peel of a
lemon can employ divine help in a future love affair.

ancient Roman times, lettuce has been credited with magical properties, a
common ingredient in salads and in sandwiches today. At Roman banquets the
guests would eat lettuce to prevent drunkenness, and at weddings it was
considered an aphrodisiac, thus in the medieval age it was used in love
potions. Wild lettuce was used to treat insomnia and headaches.
flowering woody plant of genus Syringa in the olive family
of Oleaceae. Lilacs are
popular shrubs in parks and gardens in temperate climate zones. The French lilac is
a common cultivar. The wood of lilac is close-grained and extremely hard and
dense. Traditionally the wood is used for engraving, musical instruments, and
knife handles. Lilacs symbolize love and the white lilac is considered lucky in
the British Isles. The lilac, Syringa
is the state flower of New Hampshire. Several locations in North
America hold annual Lilac Festivals as a tradition: Lombard, Illinois; Boston,
Massachusetts; Mackinac Island, Michigan; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Franktown,
Ontario, Canada; and Rochester, New York.
Oriental Lily
LILY: A genus of
an herbaceous flowering
plant that grows from bulbs, whose original name is Lilium (true
lily) and its genus, contains 110 species in the Liliaceae
family. Different varieties are found all over the world, valued for its
fragrance. Photos and drawings of the numerous lily varieties can be found at Wikipedia. They
grow in temperate and sub-tropical climates, often indoors in pots. Lilium
bulbs are starchy and edible as a root vegetable, some species having a bitter
taste. In the Orient it is used to thicken soup or, as in Japan, an ingredient
of chawan-mushi (savory
egg custard). Lilium is the Latin
name derived from the Greek language, who favored the white
, like Madonna lily. The Lotus appears in Homeric Epic tales.
Lily, Calla
Christians, it is associated with the Virgin Mary and represents purity and
innocence. Traditionally it is used to decorate churches and has a folklore
reputation of protection against evil. Lilies were used in spells to counter
witchcraft and deter ghosts. The use of lilies at funerals has become a
tradition, symbolizing restored innocence of the soul at death, as well as a link
to the afterlife. Lilies can also be seen at weddings. In Europe, any lilies
that grow from the grave of an executed felon proved his innocence. In folk
medicine, lilies were used to treat boils.
This lily is a poisonous woodland flowering plant, native to the Northern cool
temperate Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and the southern Appalachian Mountains of
the United States. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that forms colonies by
spreading underground stems called rhizomes, much like the bamboo plant. In folklore, it has
traditionally been considered an unlucky plant. In parts of France and the UK, the
plant is called Our Lady’s Tears.
An alternate name is Mary’s Tears. The
Irish claim that they are used as ladders by the fairies, so planting them in
one’s garden is unwise. The name Lily of
the Valley
comes from the English translations in the Book of Songs
(of Songs) 2:1, from a Hebrew phrase. In religious paintings, it is a symbol of
humility. It is also considered to be a sign of Christ’s second coming.In Germanic mythology, lilies are associated with the virgin goddess of spring,
Ostara. To pagans, the
lily symbolizes life. Its symbol in Christian folklore was adopted from pagan
mythology as a sign of humility and purity. The Lily of the Valley, like other
white lilies is popular for weddings, but can be expensive. Lily of the Valley
was in the bridal bouquet at the wedding of Prince
William and Catherine Middleton
The Lily of the Valley is the floral emblem of Yugoslavia
and the national flower of Finland. It is the official flower of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity,
Pi Kappa Alpha
fraternity, Kappa Sigma
fraternity, Delta Omicron
fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi
sorority, and Alpha Phi sorority and
the official flower of Job’s
Daughters International
.The Lily of the Valley is used as a symbol on certain coat of arms, like
LINDEN: One of
the three English names for the tree genus Tilia (lime and basswood,
i.e.) found in North America. Trees like American Linden, Large-Leaved Linden,
Little-Leaf Linden,
Silver Linden, Viburnum Linen, and Linden Oak. In folk
lore, the deciduous tree of the lime fruit is linked back to ancient history in
Europe, dedicated to the goddess Venus. In German folklore it guards
communities from evil.
LOTUS: Generally
the Nelumbo nucifera
flowering plant, referred to by names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, or
simply lotus. It is an aquatic
perennial and the oldest record of germination from lotus seeds dates back
1,300 years found in a dry lake bed in northeastern China.It is not the water lily species (Nymphaea), which is native
to Tropical Asian nations and Queensland, Australia. There is also a lotus tree,
a mythological incarnation of Lotis.The roots of Nelumbo nucifera planted in the soil of a pond or river bottom,
the leaves floating on the water surface. Young stems of the lotus is used as a
salad ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, used in soups by the Japanese and
Koreans; as well as stir-fried, deep-fried and braised dishes all across Asia. The
lotus is a common element in Asian herbal medicine.

Lotus rootlets are pickled in rice vinegar, sugar, chili, and garlic giving it
a crunchy texture with a sweet-tangy flavor. All across Asia, it is popular to
serve with salad, prawns and in sesame oil. The stamens are dried and made into
a fragrant herbal tea. In Vietnam, bitter lotus seeds are made into a tisane. [herbal tea]

The lotus has been a divine symbol dating far back in
ancient history in Asia, representing virtues of sexual purity. Hindus revere
it with divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi, often portrayed as
a pink lotus. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on
a white-colored lotus.The lotus found in classical written and oral literature of several Asian
cultures, represents elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, often a
subject in poems and songs. The international Bahá’I
community adopted the lotus symbol in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

2 comments on “Plant Lore: Daisy to Lotus

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