This makes my day!
Sunday, 25 Sep 11 Sunny 25°C / 77°F
In the course of the last years, I have found several plants or insects in my garden that are considered rare. But this year I didn’t have that luck – yet.
Until yesterday… When we were in the garden, hubby suddenly indicated a plant that stood along the hawthornhedge, and asked if I knew its name and if I had planted it. Both questions I had to answer negative.
And I really love it to search for some unknown plant in my books, and soon I found it was some Parietaria-species. In Belgium we have two native species, Spreading pellitory (Parietaria judaica) and Pellitory-of-the-wall (P. officinalis). Both are rather rare, although the former isn’t considered as threatened yet.
To shorten a long story: after some searching around, it came out that the species in my garden is the rarer one.
Pellitory-of-the-Wall is a member of the Urticaceae, the nettle family, but doesn’t give you the burning… The species-name ‘officinalis’ indicates that the plant has been used as a medicinal herb. Above all, it is said to have diuretic properties.
At present, the herb is almost obsolete, but I found that “Den herbarius in dyetsche“, a Flemish herbal printed around 1500, where a lot of medicinal uses of the plant are described.
Pellitory-of-the-Wall is in Dutch ‘Groot Glaskruid’, which can be translated as ‘Greater Glass-wort’. (Spreading Pellitory is ‘Klein Glaskruid’, ‘Small, Lesser Glass-wort’.
I’m always interested in the etymology of plantnames, and found the explanation in the famous herbal of Rembert Dodoens. This 16th Century Herbalist explains that Pellitory-of-the-Wall is used to clean glasses, because of the course surface of the leaves.
The English ‘Pellitory-of-the-wall’ indicates the preferred habitat of the plant, although it is rather the Spreading Pellitory (which is sometimes called Pellitory-of-the-wall too), that is most often found on walls.
According to Wikipedia, the herb has been used to prepare ‘metheglines’, spiced meads, and I could indeed find some recipes. No, I didn’t try them. And I can hardly imagine this herb can improve the taste of mead. It absolutely has no aromatic taste, only a slightly bitter tinge.
But I’m happy: one more rare species that volunteers in my garden!
This entry is about
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