The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16170 Message #3993139
Posted By: leeneia
20-May-19 - 12:58 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
Here's what I have read, but don't ask me to remember the source.
Before modern breeding, most flowers were small and insignificant. Any plant which stood out was likely to be assigned healing powers. The gentian, with its brilliant blue color, was probably such a plant.
(Exceptions were roses and lilies. "Lily" was used loosely to mean any big, showy flower.)
Rosemary, with its fragrance and nice taste, is probably another such plant. Also juniper.
I read a version of Jennifer Gentle in a poetry book from Oxford U in which the supposed knight is actually the devil (Clutie). The beneficent plants are mentioned as a chorus for protection against him. The magic plants may be mentioned to protect the maiden and to protect the singer himself. He is singing about a evil spirit, after all.
It certainly doesn't hurt that rosemary has Mary in it, for further protection.