Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole

NO Trondheim, Norway

Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole

NO Trondheim, Norway
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In Norwegian, cowberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea is called «tyttebaer» and crowberry Empetrum nigrum, «krekling». The berries are edible, but cowberries are sour and crowberries are tasteless, and probably both names are pejorative in a humorous way. The prefix in «tytteba=r» is a nickname which means woman who is fussing and talking continuously, while «krekling» means weakling, poor creature.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2016

The etymology of the Norwegian plant name «jåblom» = grass of Parnassus Parnassia palustris is challenging and has been discussed for more than a century. Traditionally, «jåblom» has been interpreted to mean «ljåblom» = scythe flower because its flowering should announce the mowing season, but ethnobotanical records confirming this are scarce or missing. An alternative interpretation is «mjåblom» = thin and slender flower because of its long and slender stem. The same prefix with the same corrupted spelling also occurs in the vernacular plant name «jågras» = tufted vetch Vicia cracca and the toponym Jåsundet.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2012

Dwarf cornel Chamaepericlymenum suecicum (syn. Comus suecica) is a boreal species with its main distribution in Norway, Sweden and northern Finland. The fruits are red and tempting, but spongy and tasteless. Therefore, a number of pejorative names have been applied to the species; most common in Norway is «skrubbe» or «skrubbær», which may be interpreted to mean «foam-berries» or «porous, spongy berries».


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2013

Balder's brae is an ancient plant name which is widely distributed in the Nordic countries. In Iceland and the Faroes, baldursbraá is sea mayweed Tripleurospermum maritimum, while in Norway and Sweden, balderbrå or baldersbrå usually means scentless mayweed Tripleurospermum inodorum. In England, Balder's brae is a vernacular name for stinking mayweed Anthemis cotula. Balder was a Norse deity, known for his bright and handsome appearance, and the medieval Icelandic scholar Snorre Sturlason interpreted the name to mean «Balder's eyelashes». Later etymologists have questioned this interpretation, and suggested that the prefix is a corruption of ballar = ball (because of the hemispherical central disc of the capitulum) or bealdor = lord. However, neither of these interpretations sound convincing, and Snorre's interpretation of the prefix is probably correct. More doubtful is his interpretation of the suffix-braá. In Iceland and the Faroes, there are several plant names with the same suffix, and a more likely interpretation is «groundcovering plant». This implies that the primary Balder's brae was sea mayweed, which has a prostrate growth and is the only naturally occurring mayweed in Iceland and the Faroes.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2013

«Soleie» is an ancient plant name with its main distribution in Norway, Iceland and the Faroes. In contemporary Norwegian, «soleie» is part of a number of systematic names within the Ranunculaceae, but formerly, «soleie» included Ranunculus acris, Caltha palustris and other species with bright yellow flowers. Probably the name should be read «sol-leie» and interpreted to mean «sunflower».


Vernacular plant names are an important part of ethnobotany, and for Norwegian plant names, the works of Ivar Aasen (1860) and Ove Arbo Høeg (1974) are the most used sources. Less known is that Idar Handagard (1874-1959) has collected a considerable number of plant names from the first decades of the twentieth century. He never completed his collections, but his unpublished manuscript and plant name records are available at the National Library in Oslo.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2011

In Scandinavia, Oxycoccus sp. is called «tranebær» or «tranbær». Traditionally, the name has been interpreted as meaning craneberries («trane» = crane, «bær» = berries), but is more likely derived from an ancient word «traner» meaning berries. The suffix «bær» has probably been added when the meaning of «traner» was forgotten.


Northern wolfsbane Aconitum lycoctonum ssp. septentrionale and mezereon Daphne mezereum are two of the most toxic plants in Scandinavia. In Norwegian they are called «tyrihjelm» and «tysbast», although «tyrhjelm» and «tybast» would be more correct. The German linguist Jacob Grimm derived both names from the Norse deities Tyr or Thor, whereas the botanist Rolf Nordhagen suggested that «tyrihjelm» is derived from an ancient word meaning «curl» because of the curled nectaries inside the flowers. Neither of the interpretations sound convincing, and more likely, «tyr-» and «ty-» are Norse pírr = slave and jbý = female slave. This makes the names pejorative and comparable to other pejorative names of the species.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2010

In contemporary Norwegian, «mure» (= moor) and «maure» (= madder) are plant names denoting the genera Argentina/ Potentilla and Galium respectively. Formerly, only Argentina anserina was called «mure» and Galium boreale and G. verum «maure». Probably both names are derived from an ancient word meaning root, which In vernacular names always means usable root or rhizome. Roots of A. anserina are edible and rhizomes of G. boreale and G. verum have been collected for dyeing wool.


Furuset K.,Dronning Mauds Minne Hogskole
Blyttia | Year: 2015

In Norwegian, common polypody Polypodium vulgare is called 'sisselrot'. The suffix '-rot' means root and refers to the sweet and tasty rhizome. The prefix has been interpreted to be a corruption of German 'süss' = sweet under influence of the girl name Sissel, but more likely, the girl name is the actual meaning of the prefix. Plant names which are or include personal names have been common in Norwegian and Swedish, and many of them are children's names of plants with particular importance to children. Probably, 'sisselrot' is one of these.

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