Monday, March 10, 2008

Plant Names and Plant Lore...

...Among the Pennsylvania Germans. This is a book that I have wanted on my bookshelf for a very long time. I finally found it and splurged. big time. It's an oldie but goodie, published way before the age of internet herbal knowledge, in 1927 by the Pennsylvania German Society. The information within was gathered for nearly twenty years before it was finally published. There were several reasons why I wanted this book: All the plants mentioned are strictly native to Pennsylvania (with a few brought from Europe) making this a valuable study in useful local plants. The plants are listed by their common names (and Latin names) but also list the dialect names, which are increasingly hard to locate. When talking to old-timers about useful plants, they may only know them by their Deitsch name, making identification much more difficult unless we are both looking at the plant at the same time. Having a list of Deitsch names will help me immensely. Finally, to quote one of the authors, Thomas Brendle, in reference to their interview process for the book: "We found that "the women" are the household oracles and much of the lore which we recorded is "Alderweiwerglawwe". In other words, 'a granny's belief'. I think it safe to say that the women who were "herb grannies" at the turn of the century are gone now, possibly even the daughters and granddaughters who inherited their wisdom, making this book an invaluable resource to the cultural heritage. My cultural heritage. The book is very fragile, but I read it from cover to cover like it was a delicious novel. I will page through it more slowly now, and absorb it, little by little, and learn the dialect names of plants that I handle everyday. I hope to share some of it here on these blog posts. I'm not a granny...but I really like that word 'Alderweiwerglawwe'... because I tend to believe what the Grannies have to to tell us. And, someday I wanna be a granny who is heard, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The copyright is expired on it. It would be great if you could scan it and make it available!


Related Posts with Thumbnails