Re: Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey

Andrew Dalby wrote:
Peter Alaca wrote:

Using the root is very unlikely because Dodders
only have very small roots as seedling. I they don't
find a host they quickly die; if they do find a host
they develop succers and lose their root.
In Dutch they are called 'Warkruid" ('Tangleweed')
and 'Duivelsnaaigaren' ('Devil's sewing thread').

The ancient Greek name is orobanche 'vetch-strangler': dodder is said
by Theophrastus (History of Plants 8.8.4) to attach itself to vetch in

Thanks for making me check this, Celia. 'Spice' seems to be wrong.
Whether they used the 'root' may be a matter of definition: I suspect
from Dioscorides' description that in this case he calls 'root' what
Peter (above) calls 'sucker'. However, I've never seen the plant.

The suckers are tiny organs with wich they suck
the stems of the host.
Try to find and collect them:
Here a micro-photo of the stem of a stinging nettle,
penetrated by a Dodder sucker from upper left.

Anyway, dodder was certainly used as a vegetable: Dioscorides
continues (2.142):

'It seems to grow on certain pulses and to throttle them, hence its
name. It is used as vegetable [lachaneuetai] both raw and cooked,
eaten after boiling like asparagus, and seems to cook more quickly
when cooked in a pot with pulses.'

Theophrastus' Orobranche gives this another direction
and that is strengthen by the comparison with Asparagus.
It brings me to the Broomrapes (Orobranche).
That are also parasites, but growing on the roots of the host,
and if young they look like asparagus (which of course are
also young).
See e.g. this real Broomrape