The Wort Family!

Like any family, the members are quite different.

The word wort comes from the English word wyrt which means plant, herb or root. The opposite of wort is weed. Names were given to the plants because it was believed the plant would help a particular part of the body. That has been proven incorrect because many plants actually have toxic properties.

Spiderwort is the only plant blooming in the picture. It has a cluster of flowers and like a lily the flower only blooms for one day. If you have broken the stem of a spiderwort you know how sticky the sap is. It was used to treat insect bites and I can understand that usage. The stems and leaves have both been compared to spider legs. I like the plant because it does well in both sun and shade and it blooms most of the summer.

Lung wort has a leaf with white dots and in the spring it has beautiful pink and purple flowers. It likes the shade and it blooms for four to six weeks. Another plus for this plant is the deer don’t like it. It is one of the wort plants that is toxic.

Barrenwort (epimedium) is the one with the heart shaped leaves. It produces yellow flowers in late spring. It has many other names and is considered an herb by some. Apparently it has a pleasant taste and can be used as an aphrodisiac. I’ll pass. It was a lovely addition to my garden this year and it likes the shade and is deer resistant.

The fern looking plant is a master wort which is a very large category. I could not find mine online, but that was what it was labeled when I bought it. It blooms in June if the deer don’t eat the white flowers. It likes the shade and the flower reminds me of Queen Anne’s Lace. I was a day late in trying to get a picture. Those deer!

If you are a gardener, I highly recommend the wort plants. They offer long lasting beauty in the garden.

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