Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey

Second Annual Report, January 2001

Appendix One: Papers Read At The First Aspns Symposium
Appendix Two: Publications
Appendix Three: Aspns Authors
Appendix Four: Aspns Advisers


The main event for ASPNS in 2000 was the First ASPNS Symposium, entitled ‘Early Mediaeval Plant Studies’. It was held from the 5th to the 7th April in the University of Glasgow. The aim was to present a programme which explored the multidisciplinary potential of the subject, introducing, it was hoped, people from various disciplines to the contributions which other disciplines could make to their research. It was also an opportunity for ASPNS authors and advisors to meet each other again, or for the first time. The papers represented the subjects of landscape studies, lexical semantics, glossary studies, place-names, botany, art history, morphology, archaeobotany, food plants, plant pharmacy, agriculture, poetry, lexicography, and medical history. In addition, there was a demonstration of the use of dye-plants. Contributors and their papers are listed in the appendix, and a group photograph of happy faces can be seen on the ASPNS web-site.

Symposium attendees appeared to enjoy their experience, which was enhanced by an evening in the Kibble Palace, Glasgow’s beautiful Victorian botanic glass-house, in which the City of Glasgow kindly supplied wine and nibbles, and the string quartet, 4Forte, supplied atmospheric music. A further reception was kindly hosted by the Institute for the Historical Study of Language in the University’s College Club. Finally, for those who could stay in Glasgow a little longer, the last afternoon was spent on an excursion to the magnificent Crarae Gardens, near Inveraray, where the group was given a guided tour by Sir Ilay Campbell.

Lest the reader thinks our first symposium was all frivolous entertainment, I am currently working on an edited volume of the proceedings which, it is hoped, will see the light of day later this year.

ASPNS also presented an Anglo-Saxon plant session on the 12th July, at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds. Dr Debby Banham spoke on the agricultural year, Ms Noriko Unebe on seaweed, and I spoke on evergreens. I was also kindly invited to give a lecture in the Oxford English Dictionary Forum series at Kellogg College, Oxford on 15th June, where I described the work of ASPNS, illustrated by the example of the juniper.

ASPNS was publicised in three short articles by myself and Noriko Unebe, as shown in the appendix. ASPNS would also like to officially welcome Prof. P. Rusche, (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) as a new author, and the following new advisers: Dr Q. Cronk (University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh), Prof. C.J. Kay (University of Glasgow), and Dr R. Mabey (independent scholar). Sadly, one of our advisers, Mr John Field, died last year. His helpfulness, in spite of illness, is remembered with gratitude.

The ASPNS web-site was updated with the Annual Report for 2000, the ‘List of Plant-Names’, ‘Authors and Advisers’, and ‘Latest News’. The web-site is now at a slightly different URL:

Plans for 2001 include the publication of the first ASPNS word-study which will demonstrate the proposed methodology. The subject of the word-study will be (not surprisingly) Old English æspe. It is also hoped to make good progress on retrieving the Latin plant-names extant from Anglo-Saxon England, thanks to a Visiting Fellowship awarded to me by Clare Hall, Cambridge.

I would like to thank all those who have helped ASPNS in the past year, including our advisers, the Department of English Language at the University of Glasgow, and our umbrella institution, the Institute for the Historical Study of Language.

Dr C.P. Biggam, Director of ASPNS
31st January 2001

Appendix One: Papers Read At The First Aspns Symposium

Banham, Debby. ‘Be Hlaf and Be Wyrtum: Food Plants in Anglo-Saxon Society and Economy’.
Bierbaumer, Peter. ‘Real and Not-So-Real Plant-Names in Old English Glosses’.
Biggam, Carole. ‘The Aspen Tree in Early Mediaeval Times’.
D’Aronco, Maria. ‘Anglo-Saxon Plant Pharmacy and the Latin Medical Tradition’.
Esposito, Anthony. ‘Mediaeval Plant-Names in the Oxford English Dictionary’.
Forbes, Ralph. ‘Criteria for Assessing the Native Status of British Plants: Some Case Histories’.
Hall, Allan. ‘Picking Over the Traces: Exploring Early Mediaeval Plant Use Via the Archaeological Record’.
Hawkes, Jane. ‘The Plant-Life of Early Christian Anglo-Saxon Art’.
Hooke, Della. ‘Trees in the Landscape: Evidence from Anglo-Saxon Charters’.
Hough, Carole. ‘Place-Name Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Plant-Names’.
McMahon, Andrea. ‘The Practical Art of Natural Dyeing’.
Mills, Susan. ‘An ‘Early Mediaeval’ Farming Experience at Bede’s World, Jarrow’.
Neville, Jennifer. ‘Leaves of Glass: Plant-Life in Old English Poetry’.
O’Dochartaigh, Cathair. ‘The Structure of Plant-Names in Irish’.
Rusche, Philip. ‘Old English Plant-Names: the Evidence from Glossaries’.
Rydén, Mats. ‘William Turner: the First English Plant-Name Scholar’.
Sauer, Hans. ‘The Morphology of the Old English Plant-Names’.

Appendix Two: Publications

Biggam, C.P., ‘The Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey (ASPNS)’, Newsletter of the Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS News) 74 (2000), 4-6.

Biggam, C.P., ed., From Earth to Art: the Many Aspects of the Plant-World in Anglo-Saxon
England: Proceedings of the First ASPNS Symposium, University of Glasgow, 5-7 April 2000 (forthcoming).

Unebe, Noriko, [article about ASPNS, in Japanese], MES Japan News 30 (1999), 6.

Unebe, Noriko, [article about IMC 2000, including the ASPNS session, in Japanese], MES Japan News 32 (2000), 21-2.

Appendix Three: Aspns Authors

Banham, Dr D.A.R. (University of Cambridge)
Bierbaumer, Prof. P. (Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria)
Biggam, Dr C.P. (University of Glasgow)
D’Aronco, Prof. M.A. (University of Udine, Italy)
Hooke, Dr D. (University of Birmingham)
O’Hare, Ms C. (University of Glasgow)
Rusche, Prof. P. (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Unebe, Ms N. (Tokyo Kasei Gakuin University)
Wotherspoon, Ms I. (University of Glasgow)

Appendix Four: Aspns Advisers

Allen, Dr D.E. (independent scholar): British herbal medicine (non Anglo-Saxon), botany.
Banham, Dr D.A.R. (University of Cambridge): Anglo-Saxon medicine, diet and agricultural economy.
Breeze, Dr A. (University of Pamplona, Spain): Medieval Celtic languages, texts, and etymology.
Burnley, Prof. D. (University of Sheffield): Middle English language and texts.
Carron, Dr H. (independent scholar): Old Norse language and texts.
Clarke, Mr M.. (University of Cambridge): Dyeplants and archaeobotany
Craig, Mrs G. (independent scholar): Health and medicine.
Cronk, Dr Q. (University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh): Botany.
D’Aronco, Prof. M.A. (University of Udine, Italy): Latin and Greek medicine and plant- names, textual transmission.
Dickson, Prof. J. (University of Glasgow): Botany
Forbes, Dr R. (Queen’s University of Belfast): Botany.
Hall, Dr A. (University of York): Archaeobotany, especially dye-plants.
Hawkes, Dr J. (University of York): Art history.
Hill, Dr D. (University of Bristol): Science of dyes and dye-plants.
Hines, Dr J. (Cardiff University): Archaeological theory, artefact studies.
Hooke, Dr D. (University of Birmingham): Historical landscape studies.
Hough, Dr C. (University of Glasgow): Place-names.
Howlett, Dr D. (University of Oxford): Anglo-Latin language and texts.
Kay, Prof. C.J. (University of Glasgow): Semantics and lexicography.
Mabey, Dr. R. (independent scholar): 17th to 19th century plant-names, uses and folklore.
Lennard, Dr J.H. (independent scholar): Plant pathology, crop plants.
O’Dochartaigh, Prof. C. (University of Glasgow): Scots Gaelic language and texts.
Okasha, Dr E. (University of Cork): Old English language and texts.
Okasha, Dr Y. (independent scholar): Arabic language.
Roberts, Prof. J. (University of London): Old English language and texts.
Rogers, Ms P. (Textile Research in Archaeology): Textile technology.
Rydén, Prof. M. (University of Uppsala, Sweden): Swedish and early Modern English plant- names.
Sauer, Prof. H. (University of Munich, Germany): Old English semantics and etymology.
Sneader, Dr W. (University of Strathclyde): Pharmaceutical science, history of drugs.