According to Cunningham's _Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs_, rowan (latin
name: Sorbus acuparia), is also called: Mountain Ash, Quickbane, Ran
Tree, Sorb Apple, Thor's Helper, Wicken-Tree, Wiggin, Wild Ash,
Witchbane and Witchwood, among other things. Rowan carried is supposed
to increas psychic powers, and the branches are often used to make
magical wands. "For centuries rowan has been used for protective
purposes in Europe. Two twigs tied together with red thread to make a
cross is an age-old protective amulet. Cornish peasants carried these in
their pockets, and Scottish Highlanders inserted them into the lining of
their clothing." Walking sticks made of the wood protected those who
carried them; rowan when planted near a house protects it and its
occupants; rowan kept in the house protects the house against lightning
strikes; rowan planted on the grave keeps the deceased from haunting the
However, looking in _The Herbalist_ by Joseph Meyer, I find that rowan is
listed as Mountain Ash with the latin name of Pyrus Domesticata, and is
listed as part of the rose family. The medicinal part is the fruit, and
is described as "a slender tree or tall shrub, leave odd pinnate of...
9-17 leaflets; flowers are numerous and white... the fruit is berry-like
and scarlet red when ripe."
In the final herbal that I have with me, _The Herb Book_ by John Lust,
rowan is listed with the latin name of sorbus aucuparia, though the
description is the same as that of _The Herbalist_. Medicinal uses for
the plant are listed in two of the herbals, if anyone would like them, I
could post them, but this is all I have time to write right now.
Mer Haskell [log in to unmask]
history major, tacky punster, melodramatist
co-organizer of FILMS and MEET:Students
mildly obsessed with King Arthur
On Sat, 5 Feb 1994, Douglas Macgowan wrote:
> I have read a lot of Celtic folklore that talks about the
> Rowan tree as a magical tree - especially in warding off the
> Fair Folk.
> I have also heard this tree is also known as either the
> Mountain Ash or the Mountain Laurel, and I am hoping to
> get clarification as to specifically what the Celts consider
> a Rowan tree.
> The common name would be appreciated, and if I could get
> the Latin horticultural name, that would be ideal.
> Thanks -
> Douglas MacGowan
> [log in to unmask]