Bay tree, so A. V. in Ps. xxxvii, 35; D. V. (xxxvi) "Cedar of Libanus", which renderings are erroneus. The correct meaning of the Heb. text is: "as a green tree", any kind of evergreen tree, "in its native soil".
Beans (II Kings, xvii, 28; Ezech., iv, 9), the horse-bean (Faba vulgaris; cf. Heb. pol and Arab. ful), an ordinary article of food, extensively cultivated in the East. The string-bean, Vigna sinensis, kidney-bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, and Phaseolus molliflorus, also grow in Palestine.
Bulrush represents three Heb. words: (1) gome Ex., ii, 3; Is., xviii, 2; xxxv, 7), Cyperus papyrus, is now extinct in Egypt (cf. Is., xix, 6-7), where it was formerly regarded as the distinctive plant of the country (Strab., xvii, 15) and the Nile was styled "the papyrus-bearer" (Ovid, "Metam.", xv, 753), but still grows around the Lake of Tiberias, Lake Huleh. (2) ’Agmon (A. V., Is., lviii, 5; D. V. "circle") is variously rendered (D. V. Is., xix, 15; Job, xl, 21). The plant whose flexibility is alluded to in Is., lviii, 5, A. V. appears to be either the common reed, Arundo donax, or some kind of rush; Juncus communis, J. maritimus, Lam., J. acutus are abundant in Palestine. (3) Suph (Is., xix, 6; A. V. "flag"; etc.), Egypt. tûf, probably designates the various kinds of rush and sea-weeds (Jon., ii, 6). Yam Suph is the Hebrew name for the Red Sea.
Coriander seed (Ex., xvi, 31; Num., xi, 7), the fruit of Coriandrum sativum, allied to aniseed and caraway.
Cucumber, Heb. qishshu’im (Num., xi, 5; Is., i, 8), evidently the species Cucumis chate (cf. Arab. qiththa), indigenous in Egypt; C. sativus is also extensively cultivated in Palestine.
Cummin, Heb. kammon, Arab. kammun, the seed of Cuminum cyminum (Is., xxviii, 25, 27; Matt., xxiii, 23).
Dill (R. V., Matt., xxiii, 23)
Flax, Heb. pistah (Ex., ix, 31; Deut., xxii, 11; "linen"; Prov., xxxi, 13), Linum usitatissimum, very early cultivated in Egypt and Palestine. from the sanctuary.
Gall translates two Heb. words: (1) mererah, which stands for bile; (2) rosh, a bitter plant associated with wormwood, and growing "in the furrows of the field" (Osee, x, 4; D. V. "bitterness"), identified with: poison hemlock (A. V., Hos., x, 4), Conium maculatum, not grown in the fields; colocynth, Citrullus colocynthis, not found in ploughed ground; and darnel, Lolium temulentum, not bitter. Probably the poppy, Papaver rheas, or P. somniferum, Arab. ras elhishhash, is meant.
Garlic, Allium sativum, Heb. shum (cf. Arab. thum), a favourite article of food in the East. The species most commonly cultivated is the shallot, Allium ascalonicum.
Grove, English rendering of two Hebrew words: (1) asherah, a sacred pole or raised stone in a temple enclosure, which "groves" do not concern us here; (2) ’eshel, probably the tamarisk tree (q. v.; cf. Arab. ’athl), but translated "groves" in Gen., xxi, 33, and rendered elsewhere by "wood", as in I Kings, xxxi, 6; xxxi, 13.
Heath, Heb. ’ar’ ar’ aro’er (A. V., Jer., xvii, 6; xlviii, 6; D. V. "tamaric", "heath"), a green bush bearing red or pink blossoms, and native of the Cape of Good Hope. The only species in Palestine is the Erica verticillata, Forskal. The E. multiflora is abundant in the Mediterranean region.
Leeks, Heb. khaçir (Num., xi, 5), also rendered "grass", a vegetable, Allium porrum.
Lily. (1) Heb. shushan, Arab. susan, a generical term applicable to many widely different flowers, not only of the order Liliaceæ, but of Iridaceæ, Amaryllidaceæ, and others. Lilium candidum is cultivated everywhere; Gladiolus illyricus, Koch, G. septum, Gawl, G. atroviolaceus, Boiss., are indigenous in the Holy Land; Iris sari, Schott, I. palestina, Baker, I. lorteti, Barb., I. helenæ, are likewise abundant in pastures and swampy places. (2) The "lilies of the field" surpassing Solomon in glory were lilylike plants; needless to suppose that any others, e. g. the windflower of Palestine, were intended.
Lily of the valleys, Heb. khabbaççeleth.
Meadow saffron. Crocus
Mint (Matt., xxiii, 23; Luke, xi, 42). Various species are found in Palestine: Mentha sylvestris, the horse-mint, with its variety M. viridis, the spear-mint, grow everywhere; M. sativa, the garden-mint, is cultivated in all gardens; M. piperita, the peppermint, M. aquatica, the water-mint, M. pulegium, the pennyroyal, are also found in abundance. Mint is not mentioned in the Law among tithable things, but the Pharisaic opinion subjecting to tithe all edibles acquired force of law.
Mustard. Several kinds of mustard-plant grow in the Holy Land, either wild, as the charlock, Sinapis arvensis, and the white mustard, S. Alba, or cultivated, as S. nigra, which last seems the one intended in the Gospel. Our Lord compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Matt., xiii, 31-2), a familiar term to mean the tiniest thing possible (cf. Talmud Jerus. Peah, 7; T. Babyl. Kethub., iiib), "which a man … sowed in his field" and which "when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs"; the mustard tree attains in Palestine a height of ten feet and is a favourite resort of linnets and finches
Myrtle, Heb. hadas (Is., xli, 19; lv, 13; Zach., i, 8, 10, 11), Myrtus communis, Arab. hadas, an evergreen shrub especially prized for its fragrant leaves, and found in great abundance in certain districts of Palestine. Its height is usually three to four feet, attaining to eight feet in moist soil, and a variety cultivated in Damascus reaches up ten to twelve feet; hence an erroneous translation in almost all the above Scriptural passages.
Rose. (1) Heb. khabbaççeleth (A. V., Song of Sol. ii, 1; IS., xxxv, 1) is probably the narcissus (see Flower of the Field). (2) Wis., ii, 8, seems to indicate the ordinary rose, though roses were known in Egypt only at the epoch of the Ptolemies. (3) The rose plant mentioned in Ecclus., xxiv, 18; xxxix, 17, is rather the oleander, Nerium oleander, very abundant around Jericho, where it is doubtful whether roses ever flourished except in gardens, although seven different species of the genus Rosa grow in Palestine
Rue (Luke, xi, 42), probably Ruta chalepensis, slightly different from R. graveolens, the officinal one. St. Luke implies that Pharisees regarded the rue as subject to tithe, although it was not mentioned in the Law among tithable things (Lev., xxvii, 30; Num., xviii, 21; Deut., xiv, 22). This opinion of some overstrict Rabbis did not prevail in the course of time, and the Talmud (Shebiith, ix, 1) distinctly excepts the rue from tithe.
Saffron, Heb. karkom (Cant., iv, 14), cf. Arab. kurkum, a fragrant plant, Crocus sativus, grown in the East and in Europe for seasoning dishes, bread, etc.
Tamarisk, Heb. ’eshel (Gen., xxi, 33; "grove"; I Kings, xxii, 6; xxxi, 13; D. V. "wood", A. V. "tree"), Arab. ’athl, a tree of which eight or nine species grow in Palestine.
Vine, the ordinary grape-vine, Vitis vinifera, of which many varieties are cultivated and thrive in the Holy Land. In Old Testament times vine and wine were so important and popular that in it they are constantly mentioned and alluded to, and a relatively large vocabulary was devoted to expressing varieties of plants and produce. In Ezech., xv, 6, Heb. çafçafah is rendered "vine",
Wormwood, Heb. la’anah (Apoc., viii, 11), plants of the genus Artemisia, several species of which (A. monosperma, Del., A. herba-alba, Asso., A. judaica, A. annua, A. arborescens) are common in Palestine, notably on tablelands and in deserts. The characteristic bitterness of the Artemisias, coupled with their usual dreariness of habitat, aptly typified for Eastern minds calamity, injustice, and the evil results of sin.