One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various small shrubs or herbs constituting the genus Sideritis (family Lamiaceae (Labiatae)), native chiefly to the Mediterranean and used medicinally; frequently with distinguishing word. Also: any of several hemp-nettles (genus Galeopsis), especially the common hemp-nettle, G. tetrahit, formerly used to treat wounds (now rare).
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Turner (d. 1568), naturalist and religious controversialist. From iron + wort, after classical Latin sidērītis siderite.
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