noun, f., o- decl., hapax legomenon

Type: plant

Last Update: 12.10.2011 09:05

References Last Update: 24.09.2020 19:31

Meanings Last Update: 06.05.2009 09:59

  • A: plant: native
    Viscum album L., mistletoe, Laubholz-Mistel
  • B: plant: foreign
    Loranthus europaeus Jaqu., mistletoe, Eichenmistel
↑ top

Comments Last Update: 12.10.2011 09:05

  • Comment on (A): Viscum album L., mistletoe, Laubholz-Mistel

    V. album is native to Britain and lives on many species of trees (cf. Stace 1997,455). The author of the Leechbook and his contemporaries used ācmistel to denote a subspecies[1] of Viscum album L. which lives off oaks. Distribution of this plant is rather scarce (cf. Hegi 1906,III,146) and therefore it is more likely that this occurrence refers to V. album, which was widely available in Anglo Saxon England. According to Jente (1921,130) the mistel, which was used for sacrificial ceremonies by celtic druids and ranked rather high in later popular superstition, was not given much credit in Anglos-Saxon times. The LB conveys no superstitious beliefs which would call for the use of this plant in any magico-medical way.

  • Comment on (B): Loranthus europaeus Jaqu., mistletoe, Eichenmistel

    Acting on the assumption that the passage of the LB is based upon a L source we can expect Loranthus europaeus Jaqu. (the VISCUM QUERCINUM of the ancients, cf. Hegi 1906,III,150) as original drug. It is possible that the compiler of the LB did not know this plant, the habitat of which is South-East and Central Europe, and Asia Minor. So Hoops' conclusion "The ancient holy mistel (Viscum album L.) [...] lives on oaks." (1911,256), which is based on the occurrence above, is not correct.

↑ top

Occurrence Last Update: 31.03.2009 09:10

  • LB, 27/29 asg acmistel
↑ top

Etymology Last Update: 12.10.2011 09:05

  • Etymology: loan-translation Etymology-Comment:

    loan translation from L VISCUM DE QUERCU or L VISCUM QUERCINUM

  • Word-Formation: noun/noun
  • Word-Formation-Comment:
↑ top

Images Last Update: 12.10.2011 09:05

Viscum album L., mistletoe, Laubholz-Mistel


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Source: Thomé, Otto Wilhelm: Flora ...

Loranthus europaeus Jaqu., mistletoe, Eichenmistel


Botanical-Information: stylised plate

Source: Thomé, Otto Wilhelm: Flora ...

↑ top

Research Literature

BW I: Bierbaumer, Peter. Der botanische Wortschatz des Altenglischen. Grazer Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 1. Bern, Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1975.
DOE: Cameron, Angus, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette di Paolo Healey, et al. (eds.). Dictionary of Old English (A to G). CD-Rom. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies for the Dictionary of Old English Project, 2008.
LB: Cockayne, Oswald Thomas (ed.). "Leech Book." In: Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England. Being a Collection of Documents, for the Most Part never before Printed, Illustrating the History of Sience in this Country before the Norman Conquest. Vol. 2. Rev. Ed. by Charles Singer. London: Longman [et. al.], 1961. 1-360.
LB: Leonhardi, Günther. Kleinere angelsächsische Denkmäler I. Bibliothek der ags. Prosa VI. Hamburg: Grand, 1905.
Deegan, Marilyn. A Critical Edition of MS. B.L. Royal 12.D.XVII: Bald's 'Leechbook'. Diss. Univ. of Manchester. 1988.
Hankins, Freda Richards. Bald's 'Leechbook' Reconsidered. Diss. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1993.
Hegi, Gustav. Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa. Mit bes. Berücks. v. Oesterreich, Deutschland u. d. Schweiz. Zum Gebrauche in d. Schulen u. zum Selbstunterricht. Bd 1-7. Wien: Pichler, 1906.
Hoops, Johannes. Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde. 4 Bände. Straßburg: Trübner, 1911.
Jente, Richard. Die mythologischen Ausdrücke im altenglischen Wortschatz. Anglistische Forschungen; 56 Heidelberg: Winter, 1921.
MS London, British Library, Royal 12 D.xvii.
Sauer, Hans. Patterns of loan-influence on the Medieval English plant names, with special reference to the influence of Greek. In: Foreign Influences on Medieval English, Eds. Jacek Fisiak, and Magdalana Bator. Studies in English medieval language and literature. 28. Frankfurt/Main: Lang, 2011. 55-76.
Stace, Clive. New Flora of the British Isles. 2nd ed. with ill. by Hilli Thompson. Cambridge: University Press, 1997.
Wright, Cyril E. (ed.). Bald's Leechbook. Early English manuscripts in facsimile. 5. Kopenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1955.

Concerning the problematic classification of "subspecies" for Viscum album L. cf. Hegi (1906,III,146).