Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey

Anglo-Saxon Plant-Name Survey

ASPNS logo (small)ASPNS is a research project based in English Language, University of Glasgow, U.K. The Director of ASPNS is Dr Carole Biggam. The members of the Survey consist of contributing authors, who research and write the word-studies which form the basis of our investigations, and also a number of expert advisers, who work in many disciplines in the Humanities and the Sciences and are willing to answer queries from the authors.

The aim of the Survey is to study the plant-names of Anglo-Saxon England, and the context in which they are found in the surviving records. The Survey is concerned with plant-names in whatever medium they survive (e.g. manuscripts, inscriptions etc.), and from whatever language they originate. As far as the evidence allows, plants will be identified by species, genus or family, and their significance in Anglo-Saxon society, as indicated by the sources, will be discussed. It is expected that the value of the Survey will become even more apparent as the information accumulates, since it will provide data for further research into topics which are linguistic (e.g. dialect studies), geographic (e.g. land use studies), economic (e.g. food studies), scientific (e.g. medicine), and social (e.g. clothing). It is hoped that the work of the Survey will be of interest to historians, botanists, archaeologists, art historians, linguists, geographers, gardeners, herbalists, and many others.

The research for ASPNS is multidisciplinary, drawing on the findings of any discipline considered appropriate for the study of a particular plant. The principal methodologies involved in the research will, of course, be those of semantics, etymology, and documentary studies, but contributors to the Survey may also have to delve into the latest research on early textiles, the botanical sections of archaeological reports, the compilation of herbal texts in Ancient Rome and Greece, experiments in growing early crops, and much more besides. These apparent diversions from the main highway often provide illuminating routes to a deeper understanding of the role of a humble plant in early England.


Postal address: Dr C.P. Biggam, English Language,
University of Glasgow, 12 University Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ 
E-mail: Carole.Biggam@glasgow.ac.uk