THE PENN STATE MEDIEVAL GARDEN

Research Outline

PLEASE NOTE: All information contained herein has been taken from a variety of texts. The reader should understand that and uses for the plants disclosed here have not been tested or verified. Any use of the plants in the fashion described in these documents is done so at the readers risk.

For each plant listed within the website a web page has been developed. The first section of any plant data sheet contains the common and scientific name of the plant and synonyms for the plant (AKA: Also Known As). Some of these names are Old English, or Saxon names, some even French or German.

little leaf Link to Plant Information Sheets

The next section contains icons that reference the use to which the plant was put. These uses come from the period writings as contained in the herbals used to collect the plant information. It should be remembered that the sources for these uses are centuries old. Some of the uses have been documented scientifically and continue to this day, others were based on supposition and folklore and are still not proven. No one should put any plant to use based on the information contained herein without first verifying the practicality of that plant to achieve the desired result.

The Icons are as follows:

Medieval religious symbolism iconReligious Symbolism:
Plants had many meanings to various religions. This symbol references plants that had importance to Christianity.

food icon Food:
If a plant was used for food, either eaten raw or cooked.


Medieval household uses iconHousehold Uses:
This icon encompasses many different aspects of plant use. The plants could be used to make cloth, repel insects, make soap, etc. Essentially anything to do with uses within or around the home.

Medieval cosmetics icon Cosmetics:
Plants used in any type of beauty product including hair dye, perfume, rouge, etc.

Medieval dye plants iconDye Plants:
A number of plants were used to create a wide range of dyes for fabrics.


Medieval medicinal iconMedicinal:
This is perhaps the largest group of plants in the web site and includes plants that were used to treat any medical condition. Names used to describe some conditions are relatively obscure. Attempts have been made to define these in the text.

Medieval beverage  iconBeverages:
Plants used to make or flavor drinks. These include grapes, apples, hops, among others.

Medieval poison iconPoison:
Any plants used as a poison. These could also be used for other purposes as well.

Medieval pottage iconPottage:
Any number of leafy plants or vegetables included in stew, with or without meat. Some of these plants were purposely grown , others gathered in the wild.

Medieval ornamental iconOrnamental:
Garden grown plants prized for there attractive qualities, mostly in regard to flowers color.

Medieval seasonings iconSeasonings:
Includes any plants that were used in cooking or food preparation for adding flavor to food.

Medieval magic iconMagic:
Certain plants were used in witchcraft, to cast spells, or for protection. Plants with these qualities have this icon. The properties are usually listed in the section entitled Folklore and Astrology.

Historical Uses:

In this section, period uses of the individual plants are presented. The period information comes from a variety of sources and is listed in categories such as Medical, Household, Culinary, etc. Sources for the historical plant references can be found in the section entitled Sources. Link to Sources.

Illustrations and Images:

In addition to written information, each plant is shown in a period illustration. The sources for these illustrations come from many different herbals. Some are hand drawn and hand colored, others are wood block prints of varying degrees of accuracy and others are very crisp copper plate images. See the section on Images and Illustrations for the sources of the plant images. Link to Sources.

Contemporary Uses:

As with the Historical Uses, this section presents information on current uses for each plant. These uses are taken from modern sources however, no validation as to the scientific documentation of the medical uses is provided.

This section also contains certain physical, habitat and growth information about the plant. Some of this information has been taken from field observation while other is taken from modern sources. Link to Sources.





Medieval painting
Medieval painting (c 1410-20) by a master from the Upper Rhine


Raised bed farming in Medieval times
Raised bed farming in Medieval times