hist-brewing: Ledum Palustre Found!

Tom Stevenson tsteve at eclipse.net
Tue Apr 4 21:28:47 PDT 2000


Some quick responses to your queries:

First, to say that Stephen Buhner is "far from a reliable source" is an
unfair and uninformed dismissal of some excellent scholarship.  If someone
wants to question his conclusions, specifics must be cited.

Second, your question points out the need for careful use of nomenclature.
Ledum palustre is a plant of the rhododendron family native to northern
Europe; Rosmarinus officinalis is a plant of the mint family native to
southern Europe.  They are in no way similar except for aroma.  No one with
the slightest knowledge of botany would confuse these two plants.  Common
names are a dreadful source of confusion and they should be avoided by
anyone who really wants to know which plant is which.
-Tom Stevenson
-----Original Message-----
From: OxladeMac at aol.com <OxladeMac at aol.com>
To: hist-brewing at pbm.com <hist-brewing at pbm.com>
Date: Monday, April 03, 2000 11:03 PM
Subject: hist-brewing: Ledum Palustre Found!


>Ok, several months ago there was a big discussion of this list about Ledum
>Palustre  (wild/marsh rosemary) being the third ingredient in the trio of
>herbs used in gruit.  This was a revelation to me at the time - I had to be
>educated that it was not regular rosemary, but a different plant entirely.
>Then we all lamented for a while on where to find the herb until one kindly
>gentleman finally told us all that we could get it from, oddly enough, LD
>Carlson.  Well, after several months of waiting for my supplier to special
>order the stuff and ship it out to me, I finally have some of it.
>
>"Ha Ha!"  I thought.  "Gruit ales shall be mine at last!"
>
>Then my lady, a studious type with whose "hobby" is researching, asked me
how
>I "knew" that it was wild rosemary and not regular rosemary that was used.
>What sources did I have?  Where was my research?  She reminded me of the
>dangers in third or fourth hand scholarship (quoting other peoples quotes
of
>quotes, ect...)  Where were the _original_ sources?
>
>Umm, errr, all I could put my hand on was Buhner's book.  I was
embarrassed -
>for this is far from what I would call a reliable source.
>
>So, to the list, and to all those who lust to make a "real" gruit ale, how
do
>we know that it was wild rosemary (ledum palustre) that was used, and not
>common rosemary?  Where are the sources?  The _original_ sources?
>
>By the way, if you are still looking for a source of the herb, you can
>contact vtbrew at together.net to order some.  It took me several weeks to get
>it, and it was kind of expensive, but they will be glad to help you.  It
>looks like regular rosemary, but has an entirely different smell.  I am
>looking forward to trying some gruit mixtures with it, perhaps as early as
>next week.  Anyone ahead of me?  If so, how are they turning out?
>
>Ox
>
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