The Black Locust (Ceratonia siliqua) received its somewhat erroneous nomenclature from William Strachey, a member of the Third Supply mission to Jamestown. Before encountering this piece of local flora however, the mission’s ship, Sea Venture, wrecked on the coast of Bermuda in 1609
In 322 BC Aristotle noted the exceptionally useful employment of mullein (verbascum thapsus) as a piscicide (fish poison) in his Historia Animālium. Gabriel Garcia Marquez also noted this use in Love in the time of Cholera 2307 years later.
Of course such a thing couldn’t stand for long and so Hecate, the goddess of the knowledge of herbs fed the heroic Theseus Taraxacum (dandelion) greens for 30 days before sending him into the monster’s maze.
Originating in central and western China, the Princess Tree (Paulownia tomentosa), is often unsurprisingly described in both orientalist and misogynistic terms: showy, aggressive, ornamental, persistent, exotic, and invasive. The Princess Tree is my personal hero.
Native to North America, Virginia pepperweed has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years to curb diabetes, expel intestinal worms, ease rheumatic pain, treat poison ivy rash, cure scurvy, and relieve the croup.