PLANTS. Plants mentioned in the Bible present a fascinating study of various shrubs, herbs, trees, and vines that far outweighs the perplexing problems that have arisen. Such difficulties surfaced because of a lack of information about the botany of ancient Palestine, exegetical hardships, and faulty translations. Better translations, along with more accurate botanical analyses, have helped to remove some of the confusion regarding the identification of plant names included in such categories, for example, as spices, gums, fruits, and thorns.
The names of most plants growing in the Holy Land during Bible times present little or no difficulty for the translator, for they clearly refer to the plants or the close relatives of species that are growing in our own day; however, the origins of some are lost in antiquity.
Acacia. A genus of trees and shrubs of the mimosa family native to warmer climates. The gnarled, rough-barked, thorny acacia or shittah trees (
. Known as the Grecian juniper, it reaches a height of sixty-five feet (twenty m.) and is pyramidal in shape. Growing abundantly in the mountains of Lebanon and Gilead, its wood is popular for building. King Solomon used algumwood in the construction of the temple (
The algum tree is a red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus L.) native to India. Algumwood is black on the outside and ruby red on the inside. Taking a high polish, this sweet-scented timber is suitable for building purposes. King Solomon’s builders undoubtedly selected algumwood for the pillars of the temple because of its specific qualities of strength, beauty, and long life (
. See Algum Tree.
Aloe. A genus of the lily family (Aloe succatrina Lam.) with thick fleshy basal leaves containing aloin. The OT references to aloes (
Anise. See Dill.
Apple. See Apricot.
Apricot. A shade tree that reaches nearly thirty feet (nine m.) in height. It yields orange-colored fruit and grows abundantly in Palestine. Traditionally this fruit has been translated “apple” (
Ash. See Pine Tree.
Aspen. See Willow.
. See Balsam.
Barley. A grain cultivated for man and beast in ancient Mesopotamia as early as 3500 b.c. Barley (Hordcum distichon L.) was the main staple bread plant of the Hebrews (
Bay Tree. The Hebrew term for bay, meaning “native,” is found only in
Bean. The broad bean, Faba vulgaris, L., is extensively cultivated in Palestine. The bean is sown in the fall and harvested after barley and wheat in the spring. A staple article of diet for the poor of Palestine (
Bitter Herb. See Herb.
Bramble. A fast-growing rough, prickly shrub (Rubus ulmifolius Scott) of the rose family, usually associated with thorns or nettles (
Brier, Briar. A plant with a woody or prickly stem (
Broom. A small flowering shrub or tree, reaching a height of twelve feet (almost four m.), with long slender branches and small leaves. The OT passages refer to the white broom, Retama raetam (Forsk.) Webb. and Berth. The white broom’s scant foliage provides little relief from the desert sun (
Bush,. See Acacia.
Calamus. A fragrant ginger-grass (Andropogon aromaticus Roxb.) from NW and central India. Its bruised leaves give off a strong, spicy, aromatic scent and their pungent taste is like ginger. The sweet calamus is a valuable import item in Palestine (
Camphire. See Henna.
Cane. See Calamus.
Caper. A small prickly shrub (capparis spinosa L.), common to the Mediterranean. A supposed aphrodisiac, this plant also acts as an appetite stimulant for the aged. It is the young pickled buds that give the “desire” or relish to the food. The fruit is inedible. Translated “desire” (niv, kjv, rsv) or “caperberry” (nasb) (
Caraway. See Dill.
Carob. Ceratoria Siliqua L., a member of the pea family, native to the eastern Mediterranean, about fifty feet (sixteen m.) tall, with shiny evergreen leaves and red flowers. These red flowers form into pods in which seeds are embedded in a flavorful, sweet, and nutritious pulp. Called “St. John’s bread” from a belief that carob pods rather than insects were the locusts that
Cassia. An aromatic bark of the Cinnonomum cassia Blume, related to cinnamon, though its bark is less delicate in taste and perfume. Its buds are used as a substitute for cloves in cooking. Cassia was mixed into the holy anointing oil of the tabernacle (
Cedar. Derived from an old Arabic root meaning a firmly rooted, strong tree, the word denotes a magnificent evergreen, often 120 feet (38 m.) high and 40 feet (13 m.) wide. It exudes a fragrant gum or balsam used as a preservative for fabric and parchment. The wood does not quickly decay and is insect-repellent. Cedarwood is of a warm red tone, durable, light, and free from knots. The stately Cedrus libani Loud is the cedar of Lebanon to which the OT often refers (
Cinnamon. A bushy evergreen tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees), about twenty feet (six m.) high, with spreading branches, native to Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Commercial cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of the young branches. A cinnamon oil is also distilled from the branches for use in food, perfume, and drugs. The sweet, light brown aromatic spice was as precious as gold to the ancients. It was used for embalming and witchcraft in Egypt, the anointing oil of the tabernacle (
Citron, Citrus Tree. A small shrubby evergreen tree (Citrus medica) growing to a height of eleven feet (three and one-half m.) with irregular spreading branches, cultivated in the Mediterranean. The fruit of the Etrog citron or “Holy Citron” is used in the Jewish
The “goodly tree” mentioned in
Cockle. An annual sturdy noxious weed (Agrostemma githago L.) with purplish red flowers found in abundance in Palestinian grain fields. The only place in Scripture that cockle is mentioned (kjv, mlb; stinkweed nasb; weed niv, rsv) is in
Coriander. A herb (Coriandrum sativum L.) of the carrot family, native to the Mediterranean region; it bears small yellowish-brown fruit that gives off a mild, fragrant aroma. The coriander seed is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. In the OT it was comparable in color and size to manna (
Corn. See Grain.
Cotton. Gossypium herbaceum L. was imported into Palestine from Persia shortly after the Captivity. The Egyptians spun cotton into a fabric in which they wrapped their mummies. The RSV translation of “cotton” in
Crocus. Crocus biflorus L. is a spring-flowering herb with a long yellow floral tube tinged with purple specks or stripes, indigenous to the Mediterranean region (
Cucumber. A succulent vegetable cultivated from an annual vine plant with rough trailing stems and hairy leaves. Several varieties were known to the ancient Egyptians; Cucumis sativus L. was probably the most common. The refreshing fruit of the cucumber vine was one delicacy the children of Israel longed for in the hot wilderness after leaving Egypt (
Cummin. This small, slender plant (Cuminum cyminum L.) is not found wild. It is the only specie of its genus and is native to western Asia. The strong-smelling, warm-tasting cummin seeds were used as culinary spices and served medicinal functions (
Cypress. A tall, pyramidal-shaped tree with hard, durable, reddish-hued wood (
Date Palm. See Palm.
Desire. See Caper.
Dill. An annual or biennial weedy umbellifer that grows like parsley and fennel. Native to Mediterranean countries, dill (Anethum graveolens) is used as a culinary seasoning and for medicinal purposes. This plant was cultivated for its aromatic seeds, which were subject to tithe. The one verse that mentions it (
The Hebrew word has been variously translated as “dill” (rsv, nasb), “fitch” (kjv), and “caraway” (niv). The fitch (Nigella sativa L.) belongs to the buttercup family and is called the “nutmeg flower” (unrelated to cultivated nutmeg). Its tiny, hot, and easily removed seeds are sprinkled on food like pepper and also serve as a carminative. In like fashion, caraway (Carum carvi) faintly resembles dill, both being of the carrot family; it yields a pungent fruit used for similar purposes.
Dove’s Dung. This is mentioned only once (
Ebony. A hard, heavy, durable, close-grained wood (Diospyros ebenaster Retz.) that takes a glistening polish. Because of its excellent woodworking qualities, this black heartwood, native to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and southern India, has long been a valuable trade item (
Eelgrass. A type of marine eelgrass from the Zosteraceae family, it thrives in tidal waters and may grow out to a depth of thirty-five feet (eleven m.). Its slimy, ribbonlike leaves, three to four feet (one to one and one-fourth m.) long, lie in submerged masses, a menace to the offshore diver who may become fouled in their coils. The “weed” (kjv, rsv) and “seaweed” (niv) of
Elm. See Terebinth.
Fig. A versatile, bushlike tree (Fiscus carica L.), ranging from three to thirty-nine feet (one to twelve m.) high and producing pear-shaped fruit, excellent for eating (
Fir Tree. A member of the pine family, the fir tree was an emblem of nobility and great stature. It is mentioned in
Fitch. See Dill.
Flag. See Bulrush.
Flax. A slender-stalked, blue flowering plant (Linum usitatissimum), cultivated to make linen and linseed oil. The fibers from the stem of the plant are the most ancient of the textile fibers (
Galbanum. A brownish yellow aromatic, bitter gum excreted from the incised lower part of the stem of the Persian Ferula galbaniflua. It has a pungent, disagreeable odor but when mixed with other ingredients in the sacred incense the fragrance of the incense was increased and lasted longer (See
Garlic. A bulbous perennial plant (Allium sativum L.) with a strong, onionlike aroma used for flavoring foods and as an ingredient of many medicines. Small edible bulblets grow within the main bulb. Garlic grew in great abundance in Egypt. The only reference to it in the Bible (
Goodly Tree. See Citron, Citrus Tree.
. See Cypress.
Gourd. Better described as the castor-oil plant (Ricinus communis L.), this is a fast-growing, shady bush fifteen feet (almost five m.) high, which produces the poisonous castor bean. Extracted from the bean, castor oil was used as fuel for lamps and oil for ceremonial rites. All true gourds are indigenous to tropical America and Mexico and were thus unknown to Jonah in biblical times (
The wild gourd or “wild vine” (niv) in all probability is the colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis [L.] Schrad.), a trailing vine resembling the cucumber, growing wild over large areas in the Holy Land. When the orange-sized fruit is ripe, it bursts. The dry, powdery, poisonous pulp, when used as a medicine, acts as a violent purgative (
Grain. Edible, starchy, kerneled fruits from the grasses, including corn, wheat, and rice varieties. Grain is a staple food in most diets, providing calorie and protein content. Fifteen Hebrew words and four Greek terms are variously translated as grain in the Bible, suggesting the importance of it in ancient times. The most common kinds of grain were barley, millet, spelt, and wheat. The translation “corn” for grain by KJV (
Grape. A small, climbing, woody vine or an erect shrub from the genus, vitis, that produces leaves and small green flowers that mature into grapes. Grapes may be eaten fresh or dried as raisins or drunk as grape juice or wine. The grapevine is the first plant to be recorded as cultivated in biblical history (
Grass. A low, green, nonwoody plant serving a multitude of functions for the soil, beast, and man. There are a great many species of grasses in Palestine, but actual turf is virtually unknown. In English the word “grass” is used in a more comprehensive sense and is the rendering of eight Hebrew terms and one Greek word. In the Bible, grass is used figuratively to portray the brevity of life (
Hay, which is grass mowed and cured for animal fodder and bedding, represented useless or inferior work built on the foundation of
Green Bay Tree. See Bay Tree.
Gum. See Spice.
Hay. See Grass.
Hazel. See Almond.
Heath. A low shrubby evergreen with small narrow, rigid leaves, thriving on open, barren soil. The species Erica verticillata grows on the western slopes of Lebanon (
Hemlock. The KJV translation of a poisonous substance alluded to in
Henna. Rendered “camphire” in KJV, this is a small thorny shrub (Lawsonia inermis L.) with fragrant white flowers. The dried leaves of the henna, crushed and made into a paste, provided a gaudy yellow stain for the hair and beard. This use of it, common among the Egyptians, was cautioned against in
Herb. A seed-producing plant that does not develop woody fibers and dries up after its growing season (
Holm Tree. The RSV translation of a word in
Husks. See Carob.
Hyssop. Probably the Egyptian marjoram (Origanum maru. var. aegypticum [L.] Dismn.) in OT occurrences of the term. This is a member of the mint family. The hairy stem of the multibranched inflorescence holds water externally very well; thus it was a suitable instrument for sprinkling blood during the Passover rites (
The hyssop of the NT probably refers to the sorghum cane (Sorghum vulgare var. durra [Forsk.] Dinsm.), which reaches a height of over six feet (two m.). The seed is ground for meal and is known in Palestine as “Jerusalem corn.” This is thought to be the hyssop of
Incense. A combination of gums and spices used to emit a fragrant odor when burned. The incense of the Levitical practice was composed of equal amounts of gum resin (kjv “stacte”), onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense (
Juniper. A shrub (not Juniperus, the true juniper) that shades and whose poisonous roots make excellent charcoal. KJV mentions it (Heb. rōthem; broom niv) four times (
Leek. A robust, bulbous biennial plant (Alium porrum L.) of the lily family, with succulent broad leaves, the bases of which are edible. Its much-desired small bulbs, growing above ground, native to the Mediterranean region, were used in seasoning along with onions and garlic (
Lentil. A small, trailing leguminous plant (Lens esculenta Moench.) of the pea family. When soaked and cooked, its seeds make a nourishing meal known as “pottage,” and the rest of the plant serves as fodder for the animals. The red pottage or stew for which Esau exchanged his birthright was probably the red Egyptian lentil (
Lign. See Aloe.
Locust. See Carob.
Mallow. Because the Hebrew word malluah implies saltiness, many believe that this plant is a species of salt herb or saltwort known as the “sea orache” (Atriplex halimus L.), a robust bushy shrub eaten as a vegetable but supplying little nutritional value. Mallows are mentioned only once in Scripture (
Mandrake. A member of the nightshade family, native to the Mediterranean, with ovate (egg-shaped) leaves, white or purple flowers, and a forked root. Its root is large, sometimes resembling the human body in shape. The mandrake (Mandragora offinarum L.), also called the “love apple,” was believed to possess magical powers. Although insipid tasting and a slightly poisonous narcotic, it was used for medicinal purposes, as a charm against the evil spirits, and, as indicated by the account of Rachel and Leah, it was credited with aphrodisiac qualities (
Melon. A generic term referring to annual vine-trailing watermelons (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad.) and muskmelons (Cucumis melo), both of which were familiar to ancient Palestinian and Egyptian cultures. The muskmelon varieties include the casuba, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Watermelons originated in Africa, while muskmelons began in Asia. These luscious fruits grew in abundance in Egypt and were used by rich and poor alike for food, drink, and medicine. Their seeds were roasted and eaten. Traveling under a hot desert sun, the weary Israelites remembered with longing the melons of Egypt (
Millet. Various grasses bearing small edible seeds from which a good grade of flour can be made. One stalk may carry a thousand grains. Millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) is still a main food staple in Asia. The common people ate a mixture of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, and millet moistened with camel’s milk and oil (
Mint. An aromatic plant with hairy leaves and dense white or pink flower spikes, extensively cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean for its food-flavoring value. This pungent garden mint, along with the sharp-scented pennyroyal mint and peppermint, were used to make the meat dishes of the Jews more palatable. Mint was a tithable herb according to Jewish tradition (
. A fruit-bearing ornamental, genus Morus, indigenous to Palestine and western Asia. The “mulberry tree” of KJV (
Mustard. Thick-stemmed plants (Brassica hirta and Brassica nigra), reaching a height of fifteen feet (almost five m.) under suitable growing conditions, native to the Mediterranean region. For over two thousand years the mustard plant has been an important economic plant of the Holy Land. Its seeds were either powdered or made into paste for medicinal and culinary purposes. The mustard tree and seed were used by Jesus to illustrate and explain faith (
Myrrh. A yellow to reddish-brown gum resin obtained from a number of small, thorny trees. One of the most valuable of these gum resins is collected from the shrub-like tree Commiphora myrrha (Nees.) Engl. (or Balsamodendron myrrha). The pale yellow liquid gradually solidifies and turns dark red or even black, and is marketed as a spice, medicine, or cosmetic (
The Hebrew word lōt in
Myrtle. A small, evergreen shrub (Myrtus comminis L.) with fragrant flowers, blackberries, and spicy-sweet scented leaves. This aromatic plant was considered a symbol of peace and prosperity (
Nard. See Spikenard.
Nettle. A little scrubby plant of the Urticaceae family, covered with tiny prickly hairs containing poison that when touched produce a painful, stinging sensation. The nettly and its companions—such as briers, thorns, thistles, brambles, underbrush, and weeds—form the low, scrubby rabble of plant life in Palestine that thrive in neglected areas (
Nut. See Pistachio; Walnut.
Oak. A durable, long-lived tree or shrub of the beech family, with green deciduous or evergreen leaves and round, thin-shelled acorns, many varieties native to the Mediterranean area. At least six species of the Quercus genus grow in Palestine: holly oak, Valonia oak, Aleppo oak, cork oak, kermes oak, and the Lebanon oak. The Jerusalem oak is not considered a true oak. Five Hebrew words are translated “oak,” referring most likely to one of the six varieties mentioned above. The oak is rich in resources, providing tannin, dyes, cork, and durable hardwood timber. In the OT the oak of Bashan was the religious symbol of strength and long life (
Oil Tree. See; Pine Tree.
The oil tree, sometimes called “Jerusalem willow,” or “Oleaster,” produces a fruit like a small olive from which an inferior grade of medicinal oil may be pressed. Its fruits are edible but slightly bitter. Translated “oil tree” by KJV (
Onion. A bulbous plant (Allium cepa L.), originating in the eastern Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Both its inflated leaves and its bulbous underground base were universally used for culinary purposes. The onion has been cultivated since time immemorial. Mentioned only in
Onycha. There are different opinions about the exact identification of the spice to which the Hebrew word shehēleth refers. One conjecture is that onycha is of the rockrose family of plants from which a spicy, aromatic gum, known as labdanum, is produced. Others suppose that onycha is the horny shield of a certain mussel found in India, that when burned emits an odor resembling musk. Both substances were evidently known to the ancients. In either case, onycha was an element added to the sacred mixture specified in
Palm Tree. This is more accurately identified as the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.). The crown of the date palm may reach seventy-five feet (twenty-three m.) above the ground. Its cultivation goes back at least five thousand years. The fruit hangs in clusters below the leaves. Every part of the palm has some economic use. The leaves are woven into mats and the fibers provide thread and rigging for boats. Syrup, vinegar, and liquor are derived from its sap. Its trunk provides timber, and its seeds can be ground into a grain meal for livestock. This ornamental palm was a welcome sight to the travel-weary Israelites (
Pannag. See Millet.
Papyrus. See Bulrush.
Pine Tree. The exact species of tree to which the Hebrew points is not firmly established. In the context of
Pistachio. An oval nut containing two green edible halves covered by a reddish outer shell, from a small but wide-spreading tree with pinnate (featherlike) leaflets. Also known as the green almond, the pistachio nut has been cultivated in Palestine for nearly four thousand years. It is used for food and food coloring. Considered a good product of the land, it was carried by Jacob’s sons to Egypt (
Plane Tree.. A stately tree, thriving along the lowland streams and rivers of the Holy Land. Each year the bark peels off, leaving the trunk and older branches smooth and yellowish-white (
Pomegranate. A small bush or tree, common to Palestine, yielding leathery-skinned fruit. Its hard, orange-shaped fruits with thin rinds contain many seeds, each in a pulp sack filled with a tangy, sweet amethyst-colored juice. Although a small tree giving little shade, its refreshing fruit more than compensated the tired traveler who rested under it (
Poplar. A tall, straight, quick-growing tree found in the hills of Palestine. However, the exact identification is not certain. Some hold that the word comes from an Arabic term meaning “white tree” or the “storax” (rv), a shrub (Storax officinale L.), twenty feet (six and one-fourth m.) tall, with hairy leaves and large white flowers. Both trees, native-grown in Palestine, would be feasible possibilities for
Poppy. See Gall.
Reed. A plumed, hollow-stemmed water plant (Phragmutes communis Trin.) found in the Near East by the sides of rivers and in standing waters (
. See Stacte.
. See Tumbleweed.
Rose. A prickly shrub, with pinnate (featherlike) leaves and showy flowers; seven species are extant in Palestine. Trying to decide what plant the Hebrew mentions in
Rue. A small, woody, perennial shrub (Ruta graveolens L.), noted for its pungent, bitter leaves and yellow flowers. Of the four varieties grown, the species graveolens, meaning “strong smelling,” is the most common, indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean coast. It was relished for its peculiar strong taste and used as a culinary spice and for medicinal reasons. It was a customary tithable garden plant (
Rush. A cylindrical, hollow-stalked plant of the Juneus genus. There are twenty varieties of this grasslike plant growing in and along the water courses of Palestine. Where NASB and KJV have “rush” (
Rye, Rie. See Spelt.
Saffron. A purple-flowered, bulbous plant (Crocus sativas L.), called the autumn crocus. The stigmas of the autumn crocus are highly valued for their aromatic odor and deep orange color, used for food flavoring and coloring, and as a dye (
Scarlet. A lasting and rich red dye produced by the kermes insect (Chermes ilicis), which breeds in the soft, milky down on the twigs of the kermes oak tree (Quercus coccifers L.). This dye was used for a scarlet and crimson coloring of wool and linen thread in Bible times (
Seaweed. See Eelgrass.
, Shittim Tree. See Acacia.
Spelt. An inferior variety of wheat, containing two red grains in its head. It grows taller than wheat and will survive where other grasses will not grow. Spelt (Triticum aestivum var. Spilta L.), sometimes translated “rye” (kjv), was grown in Egypt (
Spikenard. A costly perennial herb (Nardostachys jatamansi [Wall.] D.C.), with an aromatic root, native to East India and presently cultivated on the Himalayas. The rose-red fragrance ointment made from its dried roots and woolly stems was a favorite perfume of the ancients (
Stacte. A strongly perfumed gum resin that drains from the incised bark of the small, shrubby storax tree (Styrax officinalis L.), used in biblical days as a component of the perfume formulated for use in the tabernacle (
. See Calamus.
Sycamine. See Mulberry Tree.
Sycamore. A large spreading tree, producing sweet, edible fruit, native-grown in Egypt and Asia Minor. The sycamore-fig tree (Ficus sycomorus) bears fruit, like the ordinary fig, directly on the stem, but its fruit is of inferior quality. Its wood is light, durable, and good for carpentry. The Egyptians made their mummy cases of this wood (
Tamarisk. A small, shrubby tree (Tamarix mannifera), with narrow, evergreen leaves and bunches of little pink-and-white flowers, native to the semiarid regions of the Mediterranean. Nine species are known to exist in Palestine (
Tare. An annual weedy grass, probably the bearded darnel (Lolium temulentum L.), that flourishes in grain fields. It is difficult to distinguish domesticated grains from the wild darnel until their heads mature. At harvest time the grain is fanned and put through a sieve. The smaller darnel seeds left after fanning pass through the sieve, leaving behind the desired fruit. The darnel is host to an ergot-like smut fungus, which infects the seeds and is poisonous to man and herbivorous animals but not to poultry. The word is translated “weed” by NIV (
Teil Tree. See Terebinth.
Terebinth.. A thick-trunked, spreading tree (Pistacia terebinthus var. palaestine [Boiss.] Post.) of hot, dry places. Usually a solitary tree, it provides a dense, cooling shade. When the bark is cut, a perfumed oily resin (the cyprus turpentine of commerce) flows out (so called the turpentine tree). NIV has terebinth in two of sixteen OT uses of ’ēlāh (
Thistle. A prickly plant, often with pink or purple-flowered heads. Generic in character, it is represented in nineteen Hebrew and Greek words interchangeably translated bramble, brier, thistle, and thorn (
Thorn. The generic term includes small, spiny shrubs and vines. The Zizyphus spina-christi L. and the Palestine buckthorn, Rhamnus palastine Boiss., are the two thorny shrubs most widespread and well known in biblical times in Palestine. Both were planted as hedges and the latter was used as firewood (
The crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head at the time of his crucifixion might have been the Christ’s-thorn (Paliurus spina-christi Mill.), a straggling shrub, growing from three to nine feet (one to three m.) tall. Its pliable branches, with their uneven stiff thorns, lent themselves to the braiding of the “crown” or “wreath” made by the soldiers (
Thyine. See Citron, Citrus Tree.
Tumbleweed. The translations “whirling dust” (rsv, asv), “wheel” and “rolling thing” (kjv) (
. See Terebinth.
Vine. See Grape.
. Mentioned in
Walnut. A large, ornamental, spreading shade tree (Juglans regia L.), with long leaves and woody edible fruit, native to Iran. Also named the “English walnut” or the “Persian walnut,” this tree provides edible fruit; dark, close-grained hardwood for woodworking; and dye. The “nut trees” of
Weed. See Cockle; Eelgrass; Tare.
. See Gourd.
Wormwood. A bitter, aromatic herb (Artemisia judaica L.) with clusters of small, greenish yellow flowers and alternating greenish gray leaves, growing in desert areas. Related to our sagebrush, the wormwood is the source of an essential oil obtained from the dried leaves and the tops of the plant. Five species are known to exist in Palestine. The plant was a symbol of bitterness, embodying the hardships and evils of life (
Bibliography: H. N. and A. L. Moldenke,, 1952; W. Walker, All the Plants of the Bible, 1957; M. Zohary, Plant-Life of Palestine, 1962; R. K. Harrison, Healing Herbs of the Bible, 1966; A. Goor and M. Nurock, Fruits of the Holy Land, 1968; A. Alon, The of the Land of the Bible, 1969.——JLL