Wednesday, March 13, 2013

which wort

This time of year finds me out in the garden, raking off the winter kill, and trimming the raspberry and blackberry canes etc. In the process of cleaning up, I noticed a lot of this growing under the apple and cherry trees:

...which I suspected was a wort...of some sort.

But which one? First, I found a list of all the worts that would be growing in my area.

bellwort, birthwort, bladderwort, bloodwort (aka bloodroot), butterwort, feverwort, figwort, glasswort, liverwort, lousewort, lungwort, milkwort, moneywort, mugwort, nipplewort, pennywort, pepperwort, pilewort, pipewort, quillwort, rupturewort, sandwort, spiderwort, spleenwort, St. John’s wort, stonewort and tetterwort.

I was able to eliminate many worts that I was already familiar with, and continued searching google images for the one in question until I was successful in finding a match. Ah HA! Moneywort!

hum...I wondered, what folklore surrounds the plant? With a name like "moneywort" could it mean that I was going to be successful with my coins? So I did a little more searching.

According to Wiki...most worts had medicinal uses:

the first part of the word denoting the complaint against which it might be specially efficacious...By the middle of the 17th-century -wort was beginning to fade from everyday use.

So I looked up the latin name--Lysimachia nummularia (nummularia meaning "like a coin")..and found the wort was also known as Serpentaria. There was a belief that if serpents were hurt or wounded, they were able to heal themselves by resting upon this herb. I also found that Culpepper mentions that it is used for treatment of wounds..and that it is owned by Venus.

Some other odd associations include carpenters keeping it handy (it was said to have the power to draw out nail or open locks). And if you have a pair of quarrelsome oxen, just wave some moneywort in front of them, and it will settle the argument. Good to know.

Having established the fact that my moneywort wasn't going to win the lottery for me, I read a little more about the habits of the plant...if you are looking for it, look around the water's edge or damp meadows. Although it may be invasive, it makes a terrific ground cover, and I don't mind it growing because that means it will keep the weeds down. This little wort was once sold on the streets of London...and looks lovely in a cut arrangement. I dug a small handful to place in a vase with my Quince, Forsythia, and Spirea.

I'm always a little anxious for making a few cuttings and placing them on the windowsill lets me preview the blossoms. When the arrangement is finished out, I'll put the moneywort in my window box ...I think the trailing vines will add some interest. Maybe the yellow star flowers will come.


Cathy said...

Very pretty plant which will look lovely in window boxes.

Manise said...

Pretty wort. Much better than the lawnful of Creeping Charlie I have.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Fascinating, as always!

MDF Board said...

Beautiful pic
Fiber board | MDF with Veneers

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