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John Stokes and Mary's Gardens

Common Latin Names for Mary Plants

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Medieval Latin Religious Names of Plants

From "De Plantis A Divis Sanctisve Nomen Habentibus" by Johannis Bauhin, Basil, 1591

Bauhin documents the Marian and other religious names of plants with source quotes from botanical books in Latin, Gallic (French), German etc. - giving testimony that these names were widely found in medieval oral traditions as the then common names of these plants.

These religious names were written down by botanists in their field notes for each area studied, that other botanists would have the names by which to inquire of residents as to their location in future trips to the areas to collect herbarium specimens, etc. The botanical names, then not yet standardized, are listed as given by Bauhin as of the 16th century.

These and numerous other religiously named plants - from folklore as well as botanical sources - are listed, together with their now standardized botanical names, in contemporary works such as Marzell's Deutsches Worterbuch der Pflanzennamen and Rolland's Flore Populaire; but the significance of Bauhin' book remains its definiive documentation, with extensive quotes from his references, of the medieval origins and widepread occurance of religious plant names and symbolism.

plant list

In addition to the above, Bauhin lists plants associated by name with Saints Anthony, Barbara, Benedict, Catherine, Christopher, Clare, Francis, George, Helena, John The Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Martin, Nicolas, Paul, Philip, Peter, Simon, Stephen, Thomas, Valentine - the associations evidently being of plants in bloom at the times of the respective feastdays in the Church's liturgical calendar of saints especially venerated in the various areas.

The John Stokes and Mary's Garden collection was transferred to the Marian Library in May 2013. In addition to his archives, manuscripts, artwork, and personal library, John S. Stokes also donated his extensive website. It was transferred to the Marian Library in 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.


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