One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A low-growing European evergreen plant of the birthwort family, formerly used in medicine and as an ingredient in snuff.
Asarum europaeum, family Aristolochiaceae
- ‘If you visit the lowest terrace (called Canada) you may be interested to see an area of the extremely rare asarabacca plant, used in the making of snuff.’
- ‘The results of the inventory revealed that the resources of the first two species are large, while the resources of asarabacca and common bearberry are a little low and it might be necessary to put these species under total conservation.’
- ‘Only plants like sweet woodruff and asarabacca, which are adapted to life in the shade under its thick branches, manage to grow in such conditions.’
- ‘The situation of these plants this year has provided a contrast in form and colour to the deep green kidney shaped leaves of the asarabacca rock plants.’
- ‘The forest has not been cut for 300 years, and I found myself surrounded by ground flora such as Solomon's seal, lily of the valley, yellow wood anemone, toothwort, asarabacca, herb paris and hepatica.’
Early 16th century: from Latin asarum (from Greek asaron), probably compounded with a shortened form of another name for the plant in Greek.
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