Monday, June 25, 2012

What's a Wort?

In Old English, the suffix wyrt meant plant and was used to denote a plant used medicinally.  Its older origin comes from the Germanic, and means "root."  Wyrt became wort over time, and there we have what survives as a plant name suffix from long ago.

I'm on a mission to begin identifying the native plants in my surroundings and to investigate any of their known medicinal qualities.  Orange milkwort (shown above) is one of the first in this project. All I know so far is that the Creek nation used some part of the plant as an emetic.  But the plant in general bears more research because there are some other Polygalas with better-known uses.  Here's what Green Dean has written about it so far...

I'd love to know if anyone has further information about Orange Milkwort!

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