Ocymum basilium (basil)

Week 31 of the PBP. Basil: the king’s herb. I believe this to be the tastiest weed on this good green earth. So many different flavors, so many colors, I could go on and on. With just a little pinch back at the beginning of the season, you’ll soon have a wealth of materials for […]

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Week 24 of PBP. There is nothing like driving past a hedge of lilacs in bloom with the windows rolled down. It’s incomparable. The only thing more fun is standing amidst them in the rain, letting the water roll down over glossy leaves and splash on your face. These are the flowers of my maternal […]

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First off, in case anyone here is reading from Europe, I’m not talking about the stuff Socrates used to end his days. Why the shared name? Supposedly, when the needles of Eastern/Canadian hemlock, or Tsuga canadensis,  are crushed, they produce a smell similar to that of poison hemlock. However, Eastern hemlock is a slow-growing, long-lived tree that, unlike many […]

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Englishman’s Foot (Plantain)

And, you, Waybread [Plantain], mother of herbs, open to the east, mighty within; carts rolled over you, women rode over you, over you brides cried out, bulls snorted over you. All you withstood then, and were crushed; so you withstand poison and contagion and the loathsome one who travels through the land. —Nine Herbs Charm (trans. Slade 2002) This week’s […]

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Artemesia vulgaris (Mugwort)

Remember, Mugwort, what you revealed, what you established at the mighty proclamation “Una” you are called, oldest of herbs. you may avail against 3 and against 30, you may avail against poison and against contagion, you may avail against the loathsome one who travels through the land. (Woden’s Nine Herbs Charm from Lacnunga LXXIX-LXXXII, trans. […]

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