Meet the Wort Family

Anna Pavord in the preface to the Herbology section of Harry Potter - A History of Magic: The Book of the Exhibition (At the British Library) waxes eloquently on plant names and the very special magic contained in etymology.

She explains that plant names ending in "wort" were (as the OED says): "in combination Used in names of plants and herbs, especially those used formerly as food or medicinally, e.g. butterwort, lungwort, woundwort."

The variety of *wort names is astounding
  • Barrenwort - Epimedium, especially Epimedium alpinum
  • Lungwort - A plant of the genus Mertensia, the lungworts. Also, a boraginaceous plant of the genus Pulmonaria
  • Motherwort - A herb, Leonurus cardiaca, of the mint family, Lamiaceae
  • Mugwort - Artemisia vulgaris
  • Sneezewort - Achillea ptarmica. Goosetongue; Bastard pellitory
  • Spleenwort
  • St. John's Wort - Can refer to any species of Hypericum
Exercise your imagination, invent some new *worts
  • phonewort
  • blogwort
  • googlewort
  • txtwrt
Fun, eh?

And so for day 2111