Adder’s Tongue

“Erythronium americanum (trout lily, yellow trout lily, yellow dogtooth violet) is a species of perennial, colony forming, spring ephemeral flower native to North America and dwelling in woodland habitats. Within its range it is a very common and widespread species, especially in eastern North America. The common name ‘trout lily’ refers to the appearance of its gray-green leaves mottled with brown or gray, which allegedly resemble the coloring of brook trout.” – Wikipedia

Wikipedia photo

The perennial forb/herb, which can be found in the eastern United States and Canada, but typically not in Florida, is also called Adder’s Tongue. While some people call it a dogtooth violet, it’s not related to violets. Even  though this is a native plant, you can purchase the seeds commercially. My focus here is folk magic usage, but I’m noting traditional edible/medical uses for reference only.

While the plant has a strong emetic impact on some people, the petals have been used in tossed salads. WebMD has the following caution: “People apply English adder’s tongue directly to the skin to treat ulcers. Don’t confuse English adder’s tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum) with American adder’s tongue (Erythronium americanum).” Other sites say that the plant can be made into a poultice and applied to wounds that aren’t healing. Check with your doctor before using any part of the plant as a poultice or a tea even though those have been traditional folk medicine uses

Hoodoo

Traditionally used to stop people from slandering you, including nasty relatives. Dry the leaves and grind them into a powder and then sprinkle them around the front door the home of those who are slandering you, or gossiping about you in ways that border on slander.

Or, you can combine the leaves with ground-up Slippery Elm bark, brew it, cool it and strain it and then pour it over yourself from your shoulders to your toes. Some suggest reciting the 23rd Psalm while doing this. If the people who have been slandering you are visitors to your house–such as relatives or neighbors–collect this mixture from your bathtub, add one teaspoon of ammonia, and you’ll have a wash you can use for scrubbing our doorstep and front walk. If your entry hall can be cleaned with liquids, use the wash there as well.

As for the name, potentially it was inspired the shape if the spore-bearing spike and, for usage, by Psalm 140:5, “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips.”

Voodoo practitioners would keep meddlesome people way with powdered dried beef tongue for use, sometimes in combinations with herbs, in mojo bags or as a sachet powder. Witches (traditional natural religion practitioners) have been known to use the drug for healing, divination, and magical spells involving dreams.

Some curio suppliers provide adder’s tongue in small packets for you to use with your own spells. This is rather expensive when contrasted with finding colonies in of the plant yourself in places with plenty of spring sunlight.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

Advertisements