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Since its publication in 1915, Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans has been not only a valuable additi
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Despite a century of study by ecologists, recovery following disturbances (succession) is not fully understood. This boo
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Zhe Pennsylvania :^©erman Society
PLANT NAMES AND PLANT LORE AMONG THE PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS By David
R. GREEN lane,
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY
PACKENTHAL, JR., SC HIRAM H. SHENK, A.M.
To THE Memory OF
ABRAHAM STEINMETZ BRENDLE.
FOREWORD. Brendle, of Schaefferstown, Pa., sent a list of Pennsylvania-German plant names, current among the residents of his community, to the writer,
In the year 1914, A.
nephew. This list was a mere enumeration of names without any accompanying scientific nomenclature and without any folklore. To this list the writer added a considerable number of Pennsylvania-German plant names, also the correspondSeveral ing scientific nomenclature and some folklore. Lick, E. D. to forwarded years later the revised list was enlarge of Fredericksburg, Pa., with the request that he in touch with. it and add such folklore as he had come Mountain, Blue the of Mr. Lick, who lives in the shadow mountain of added a large number of names, especially He likewise included the names of cultivated and plants. his
ornamental plants. Up to the time that the list came been into his hands only wild plants and weeds had treated.
Lick, through his love for the etymological sig-
names and his interest in the comparative study of names and folklore, widened the field of the By patient and untiring research work investigations.
he arrived independently at results which later were found wonderfully substantiated in the works of German authorities on the names of plants and on folklore.
The Pennsylvania-German Society.
In order that the reader may bestow credit where it is due it is here stated that the creation of a manuscript of worth and significance out of a mere list of plant names is
D. E. Lick.
Brendle's connection with the work ceased soon His untimely after he forwarded his list to the writer.
and deeply lamented death took away one who would have been of great help in many instances. His influence alphabetical is preserved in two features of the work: the arrangebotanical a of instead names the of arrangement the relationships; plant on ment, which would be based woody division of the work into an herbaceous and a section.
folklore are studied
popular nomenclature and
the specific relationships of plants.
cannot be justified so easily. Its retention denkes" of the work of a friend. The purpose of the work is fourfold:
A. The collection of Pennsylvania-German plant names and the scientific identification of the plants to which they are applied. Every name listed has been personally heard by one or the other of the authors. have been largely increased
The number if
a thorough canvass could
have been made of all Pennsylvania-German communities, for the plants com.mon or known to one community are
found in restricted areas and are known to a comparatively small number of persons. The farmer is familiar with the plants along the fences and hedge rows, and with the weeds of his fields and barnyard. He is familiar, too, with the different grasses and forage plants. His wife knows the cultivated
of our plants are
and medicinal herbs
of the garden. a knowledge
One cannot woodland
of however, look to the farmer for plants The fisherman and the miller notice the plants margms streams and line the that frequent the banks of
The woodchopper knows
the different trees,
shrubs, and woodland plants. plants, and The miller knows very little of woodland knows very little of inthe dweller in the woodlands the work of many troduced weeds. It will require many persons to make a years and the cooperation of names of Pennsylvania-German plant
complete collection we could not do more field It is to be regretted that which we covered, work for our collection. The territory comprised Lebanon, however, was well canvassed. It Lehigh counties. and Berks, Montgomery Lancaster,
part of our work was the correct It was one thing of the plants.
name, it was another to scientifically was applied. A mere list identify the plant to which it is interesting but has no of German and English names change from permanent value. Popular plant names names and English time to time. There are no official Many names. there are no official Pennsylvania-German Our forgotten. names used a hundred years ago are to according vary Localisms plant names are localisms. localPennsylvania-German time and place. To bind and unchangeable is not fixed are isms with names that
to collect a plant
work. the least significant purpose of our comparison of our B. The second purpose was the
Pennsylvania-German names. C. D. scientifically drawn up, the one by
names with other
Mell, the other
L. King, furnished excellent Many names are also to be found
The Pennsylvania-German Society.
vocabulary of A. R. Home's Pennsylvania German Manual, in the excellent dictionary of M. B. Lambert, and in the vocabulary of Pennsylvania-German words published by Hoffman in the Proceedings of the American in the
Vol XXVI, No.
Pennsylvania-German vocabularies, however, do give the corresponding scientific nomenclature.
have carefully searched for plant names among them and have included the names which we found, in our text for two reasons: (l) to show the similarity or dissimilarity in spelling and pronunciation between them and the names listed by us; (2) to bind them up with a scientific nomenclature. The latter end was quite easily attained in the case of Lambert, for, while he was preparing his dictionary, he went through our manuscript and followed it
to a large extent.
The third aim was to find the origin of the names. have been able to trace the names to four sources:
names current in Here, however, one must not jump at
are adaptations of English
Not every name that has a literal counterEnglish came to the Pennsylvania-Germans from
association with English-speaking persons in America.
early discoverers and explorers carried
to England and the
Only a precise
history of the plant will enable us in individual instances
how the name came into being. We have names that are gang und gabe among our Existence and usage are sufficient grounds for
are names or corruptions of names used in we have Wijk. We see how the official Here Germany. and the vernacular German exist side by side. (2)
of the eighteenth century,
iar with the names in the old country, came into contact with them through Saur's paper or through the German
drug store at Philadelphia. (3)
are original, that
given on account
of the appearance or the supposed medicinal properties of the plant. (4)
com.e to us from the Indians.
peaceful relations between the Pennsylvania-German and
the Indians, especially in the southeastern section of Pennsylvania, lead us to suppose that the Indians influenced our forefathers to a greater extent than is at apparent. Trappers, traders, and hunters, refirst
the herb gardens, would remedies in case of illIndian and turn to native plants Their experiences and knowledge would slowly ness. become known to the settlers. We have heard of families where the sick were regularly visited by Indian medicine men. D. Our last object was to record the folklore and We practices that still exist or are still remembered. we that had scrupulously avoided recording anything
moved from the settlements and
not heard or seen except by way of comparison. We used no **Brauchbicher," for in dealing with them one is at a loss to distinguish between that which was suggested by the authors and that which was current among the people.
and much of the weiwerglawwe."
are the household oracles
which we recorded
Above we stated that the territory covered by our field work comprised Lebanon, Berks, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Lehigh counties.
The Pennsylvania-German Society,
Mell we gain names from Lebanon, Dauphin, and Lanobtain caster counties; through the list of King we counMonroe names from Northampton, Lehigh, and Hoffman we get ties; through Lambert, Horne, and addenda, howThe usage. names that are in general
show that there is still room for a great deal The number of names recently obtained field work. Lehigh County, where Horne, Lambert, and King
have collected, shows that the field of PennsylvaniaGerman names and folklore is almost inexhaustible. We have spelled the names, as far as possible, in accordance with the modern High German spellings. Pennsylvania-German speech is a fluid dialect. to a certain extent a ''gelegenheits" dialect. spelled the \vords as we heard them.
We the the
azv as azv in the
Thee, ie as ie in the
as ee in
ei as ei in
In words like blumme the
sound vacillates between short a and short e. The d and t sounds are not constant. The same person will often use the same name successively with the two
different sounds, as, for example, drefse trefsa. Pennsylvania-German words which have their counter-
part in High
example, Schzuamm, Beere,
are spelled like the
Thos. R. Brendle. Green Lane,
of Botany^ Seventh Edition, 1908. scientific nomenclature of native on the Authority plants, and also of introduced plants that have escaped from cultivation. Bailey, Encyclopedia of Horticulture, Last Edition. Authority for scientific nomenclature of cultivated
Flora of Pennsylvania, 1903.
Authority for distribution of native plants in Pennsylvania. 4.
Mell, "Pennsylvania German Plant Names" in The Pennsylvania-German, Vol. XI, No. 9, 1910. This excellent list with scientific nomenclature is based on the notes of Frederick Knopf, an immigrant from Germany, who botanized extensively in Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster counties. Frequently it ap-
is drawn between the High German and the Pennsylvania-German spellings. C. D. Mell, "Pennsylvania Germian Names of Trees" in The Pennsylvania-German, Vol. XI, No. 12, December,
pears no distinction
King, "Pennsylvania German Plant Names" The Pennsylvania-German, Vol. XII, No. 2, February,
more extensive than MelPs. It covers northeastern Pennsylvania. Like Mell, King has a
corresponding scientific nomenclature. Dictionary of Plant Names, Vol.
Gerth van Wijk, 1911; Vol.
Dutch, compilation of French, English, German, and stupenA names. with corresponding Latin scientific
where names were
Manual, AUentown, A. R. HoRNE, Pennsylvania German 1910.
plant names, but no scientific nomenclature. Dictionary of the Non-English Words of 9. M. B. Lambert, A the Pennsylvania-German Dialed, 1924.
The best Has an
authority on the Pennsylvania-German dialect. no excellent collection of plant names, but
nomenclature. Englisch-Deutsches und 10. Muret-Sanders, Encyklopddisches Worterhuch. Deutsch-Englisch deutschen Friedrich Kluge, Etymologise hes Worterhuch der scientific
Martin und Leinhart,
Mundarten. Brauch, Berhn, E. L. Rochholz, Deutscher Glauhe und
Karl Weinhold, Die
Franz Sohns, Unsere Pflanzen, Leipzig-Berlin, 1920. William Barton, Compendium florae Philadelphica^,
Deutschen Frauen in der Mittel-
Wien, 1897. ^
medical Valuable for occasional reference to folklore or practice. 17.
Frederick Pursh, Flora Americae Valuable
folklore or medical practices of that time. Superstitions of the Pennsyl18. E. M. Fogel, Beliefs and
vania Germans, Philadelphia, 191 5. An excellent authority on Pennsylvania-German folklore.
Christopher Sauer, Kleines Krauterbuch, 1 762-1 778. at Copy in the Historical Library at Perkiomen School Pennsburg, Pa.
Kreuterhuck/Durch Otho Brunnfelsz/Newlich beschriben/M.D. XXXII. zu Strassburg bey Hans Schotten/Zum Thygarten. This is the title to the second part. The title page to the
The copy which we
attention v/as called to
by H. W.
Our whom we
here express our sincerest thanks.
comparative study of plant
valuable for a
American Philosophical Society
to July, 1889.
"Grammatic Notes and Vocabulary of the Pennsylvania German Dialect," William J. Hoffman. "Folk-medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans," William J. Hoffman.
Heinrich Marzell, Die
namen^ Heidelberg, 1913. This is a very exact treatment of German plant names 23.
that embody the names of animals. Johannes Juhling, Die Tiere in der deutschen Folksmedizin alter und neuer Zeit, Mittv/eida, no date. G. Lammert, ?^oiks medizin und medizinischer Aherglaube in Bay em Wiirzburg, 1869. Dr. AiCKE'SiO'ST,Folkserotik u. Pflanzenzveli^ Leipzig, 1919. Wilhelm Mannhardt, Der Baumkultus der Germanen und J
Nachharstdmme, Berlin, 1875.
Antike iVald- und Feldkulte^ Berlin, 1877. 27.
Brauch und Volksglaube in Schles-
ien^ Vol. i, Leipzig, 1903;
Adolf Wuttke, Der
Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 4th edition. HovoRKA UND Kronfeld, Vergleicheude Volksmedizin,
deutsche Folksaberglaube der Gegen-
wart, 4th edition, Leipzig, 1925.
Vol. 2, Stuttgart, 1909.
Heinrich Marzell, Unsere Heilspflanzen, ihre und ihre Stellung in der Folkskunde, 1922.
The Pennsylvania-German Society,
xiv 32. E.
Fehrle, Badische Folkskunde, 1924.
John Baer Stoudt, The
Germans, Pliiladelphia, 1916.
from the Rev.
Dr. Stoudt while we were preparing our manuscript, for which we here give grateful acknowledgment. 34.
A. Wrede, Rheinische Folkskunde, 1922.
Pfdizer Volkskunde, 1925.
This is the best authority for the study of the life and customs of the Pennsylvania-Germans from a European background. Pflanzenzvelt in Voiks36. Heinrich Marzell, Die heimische hrauch und Volksglauhen, 1922.
Pflanzennamen im Sprachschaize der 37. Julius Wilde, Die Pfdizer,
a source of gratification to us to have found a
which treats the vernacular plant names among the "Pfalzer" as we treat them among the PennsylvaniaGermans. Unfortunately the book came into our hands just when our manuscript was going into the hands of the printer, and we were unable to use it as we would have done if we had had it during the preparation of our manuscript.
were able to use Wilde's book in only a few instances, We have to a great part, in the in the revision of the text. listed by Wilde, but Wijk names the dictionary of Wijk, the names were collected. where does not give us the localities
Here Wilde has done work of inestimable value to the student He not only gives of Pennsylvania-German life and speech. or communities towns the the names of plants, but he records changes phonetic the in which they are used; he explains the records he which have taken place in their pronunciation; the rhymes, the beliefs and the superstitions, the proverbs and world plant the customs and the usages which cling around as
to the Pfaizer.
names from his book may show how interhis work is and how closely allied our own valuable and esting it. work is to
Gloggeblumm, Glegg(e)lche Aquilegia vulgaris L. Names due to the form of the pendulous flowers. Rumex acetosa and acetosella Saueramp(e)l, Sauerambl(e) Halwer Gaul
seeds are half as large as those of Gaulskimmel. Andon Marrubtum vulgare L.
Weisser Andon, Liewer
Abbelbaam, Ebbelbaam, Ebbelbaam Holzabbel
— a common designation
Pirus malus L. Wild Apple.
officinale L. Schwarzworzel Ehrh. verrucosa Betula Berk, Berge Birebeem Biereboom, Beerebaam, Beerebaam,
The dried cut fruit is called HutzCe)l, Hutz'le, Hutz(e)lcher. Bohme kreidel, Buhne kreidel Saiureia hortensis L. Buratsch, Boratsch Borage officinalis L. Uriica dioica L. Brenneesel
Dernbeere, Dernerbeere Rubus L. Buuche, Buche, Buchebaam Fagus silvestris L. Bochs Buxus sempervirens L. Hansworz(e)l Sernpervivum tectorum L.
Dahlia variabilis Desf. Carduus.
Caltha palustris L.
Effei— ^^^^r^ Helix L. Aach, Aache, Eech Quercus L. Handivie, Handifdich, Andivich Cichorium Endivia L. Pisum horiense Asch. & Gr. Erbs, Arbs, Arbs Efei,
Errbeere, Erble, Eerbele
Fragaria vesca L.
Alnus gluiinosa Gartn. Esch Fraxinus excelsior L. Eschbe, Aschbe, Babbel Populus iremula L. Fahrn, Fahrekraut Polypodiacecs L.
The Pennsylvania-German Society,
Fceniculum vulgare Miller.
Bellis perennis L.
Gaal(e)newe Daucus Carota L. Storchschnawwei Pelargonium zonule L'Her. Gerst, Gaarst Hordeum L. The heads are Grahne. Gallerrieb,
Gleditschia tricantha L.
Fuchschwanz Solidago Virga aurea L. Schmelme Air a L. and other long slender Gunnelreb Glechoma hederacea L. Gummer, Gugummer Cucumis sativus L.
"Den Gurkensalat soli man sehr gut mit Essig und Oel und Gewiirzen *anmachen' und ihn dann auf den Mist schiitten." Some
of our old country doctors gave the
sativa (L.) Thell.
Hohnefuss, Budderblumm Ranunculus L. Hannef, Hanft Cannabis sativa L. Jesu Blut, Johannis Blut, UQXtkvdiMt—Hypericum perforatum L*
Hasselnuss, Hasselniss Corylus avellana L. Wildi Ros Rosa canina L. Blobeere Vaccinium Myrtillus L.
Hem beer, Hembier, Imbeer, llimhtQv—Rubus Idceus L. Dasch(e)iche— Cap/