Mythical Plants of the Middle Ages

James L. Matterer, 2000

Digital resource

"Civilizations as early as the Chaldean in southwestern Asia were among the first to have a belief in plants that never existed, and the practice continued well beyond the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Originally, this was done to disperse the mystery surrounding certain seemingly-miraculous events and to symbolically embody in a physical form various aspects - wealth, happiness, fertility, illness, etc. Later, people began to invent "nonsense plants" to enliven the tale of an otherwise boring voyage, and with the invention of the printed book, to entertain readers who loved to believe in such fables. Even spices, which were an important element of Medieval food, commerce, trade, & society, were given exotic & incredible backgrounds. The fabulous trees and fauna discussed here are just a small example of the many fantastic plants our medieval forebears believed in. As will be evident, trees, because of their longevity and immensity, have been foremost among the plants considered sacred, mystic, or mythical.

Mythical Plants of the Middle Ages is based on the writings of Ernst & Johanna Lehner and William A. Emboden." - author

Language: English


Last update December 6, 2021