Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey

Fifteenth Annual Report, for 2013

C. P. Biggam

Director of ASPNS


In 2013, we lost two of our valued specialist advisers through retirement. The members are very grateful for help received in the past from Dr Allan Hall (archaeobotanist) formerly of the University of York, and Dr Ralph Forbes (botanist) formerly of Queen's University Belfast. We wish them both a happy retirement.

ASPNS was consulted on two plant-names last year by the Dictionary of Old English, and we also received the following queries: from a researcher in the University of East London working on tenth-century wound-healing plants; from a project investigating aspects of Scottish garden history; from a researcher in Spain interested in the plant lustmoce; from a researcher in the University of the Highlands and Islands on early references to barley; and a query on the stylized flowers in medieval embroidery.

Our latest publication, which has suffered all manner of delays and vicissitudes, has finally emerged, thanks to the University of Leeds. The volume appears as vol. 44 of the Leeds Studies in English, edited by C. P. Biggam, with Alaric Hall as editorial assistant. Full contents can be viewed below.

As always, thanks are due to English Language, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow, U.K., for hosting and supporting ASPNS.


Plant-Related Publications by ASPNS Members


Biggam, C. P., 'Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey (ASPNS): Fourteenth Annual Report for 2012', Old English Newsletter Online 44.1 (2013).

Biggam, C. P. (ed.), Magic and Medicine: Early Medieval Plant-Name Studies, editorial assistant, Alaric Hall. Leeds Studies in English, new series 44. School of English, University of Leeds, 2013.

Magic and Medicine contains the following articles:

Biggam, C. P., 'An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Studies and to this Special Issue', pp. 1–9.

Markey, Tom, ''Garlic and Sapphires in the Mud': 'Leeks' in their Early Folk Contexts', pp. 10–42.

Hall, Alaric, 'Madness, Medication — and Self-Induced Hallucination? Elleborus (and Woody Nightshade) in Anglo-Saxon England, 700–900, pp. 43–69.

Hall, Alaric, 'Elleborus in Anglo-Saxon England, 900–1100: Tunsingwyrt and Wodewistle, pp. 70–93.

Wotherspoon, Irené, 'Old English Hymlic: Is it Hemlock?', pp. 94–113.

Wotherspoon, Irené, 'Old English Hymele: An Occasional Flavour of Hops', pp. 114–136.

Coates, Richard, 'Biting the Bulut: A Problematic Old English Plant-Name in the Light of Place-Name Evidence', pp. 137–145.

Meaney, Audrey, 'What was Lybcorn?', pp. 146–205.

Biggam, C. P., 'Old English Safene: Untangling Native and Exotic Junipers in Anglo-Saxon England', pp. 206–241.

Glossary of Medical Terms (Historical and Modern), pp. 242–243.

Lexical Indexes, pp. 244–261. [Includes plant-names in Modern English, Middle English, Old English, Proto-Indo-European, several historical Germanic languages, Old French, Middle French, several historical Celtic languages, Latin, Greek, and Botanical Latin, as well as Old English geographical and botanical terms].