Register | Login

Scope and aims

All current work is based on the groundbreaking research of Peter Bierbaumer:

  • Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. I. Teil: Das Laeceboc. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie. 1. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1975.
  • Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. II. Teil: Lacnunga, Herbarium Apuleii, Peri Didaxeon. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie. 2. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1976.
  • Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. III. Teil: Der botanische Wortschatz in altenglischen Glossen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie. 3. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1979.

The DOEPN is designed to be a dictionary in strictly alphabetical order, dealing only with plant-names and botanical terms. We include:

  1. plant names, i.e. nouns which certainly or probably denote plants or plant species. They are selected on the basis of the following criteria: etymology, literal meaning, occurrence in Middle and Modern English, the context in which they can be found, occurrence in glosses (if the Latin lemma denotes a plant). In the case of polysemous words we only concentrate on the botanical meaning, e.g. with æsc we concentrate on its meaning ‘ash, ashtree’, but not on its meanings ‘name of the rune for æ’;
  2. nouns which do not refer to plants but are treated as plant names in the relevant literature (starting with Cockayne; e.g. mare, hundes heafod), i.e. ghost plant names.
  3. nouns which refer to parts of plants or general botanical terms, e.g. wyrt ‘plant, wort’, lēaf ‘leaf’, rind ‘bark’, tān ‘twig’;
  4. nouns which refer to products of plants, e.g. æppel ‘apple’, berie ‘berry’, but those products are excluded that need any lengthy processing, e.g. melu ‘meal, flour’;
  5. compounds which are composed of at least one noun specified in 1. to 4. are recorded but are not discussed in detail except that a translation into Modern English and Modern German is given (e.g. plantsticca ‘gardening tool, dibble; Gartenwerkzeug, Setzholz’.
  6. verbs which derive from the nouns specified in 1. to 4., e.g. gepiperian ‘to pepper’, plantian ‘to plant’.
  7. adjectives which describe plants or parts of plants (e.g. clufiht ‘cloved, having bulbils or cloves’, cnēoeht ‘cloved, having bulbils or cloves’). Adjectives that describe colours of plants or stages of maturity (e.g. grēne ‘green’) and adjectives that describe the location of parts of a plant (e.g. niþeweard, ufeweard, foreweard ‘lower, upper, front’) are excluded;

In doubtful cases we tend to apply these rules rather loosely.