Friday, July 20, 2007

Wands Harry Potter Yew Vrs Holly

Yew Taxus Brevifolia Baccata

This post is a continuing series I will be writing about in the next few weeks, Harry Potter herbs & other Legends see Hazel

Lord Voldemort's wand is made of Yew. It is the only wand (so far) in the series made of yew.

Yew has been associated with death in legends. The Greeks and Romans used yew as fuel for their funeral pyres. Yew was also planted in church yards as a symbol of immortality (since it is an evergreen) Horcrux is the receptacle in which a Dark wizard has hidden a fragment of his soul for the purposes of attaining immortality. Yew was also useful in soaking up "poisonous vapors" escaping graves. To dream of yew meant an old person was about to die and leave the dreamer a large sum of money.

Yew is not a food source, the needles and leaves are poisonous. Some northwest Native American groups smoked the needles. The yew is unusual because it reproduces itself by means of "berries" actually they are aril, not true berries. The "berries" appear on the female plant.


Since the wood was strong according to the doctrine of signatures this strength could be imparted to humans. The Swinomish Native American tribe rubbed themselves with it to gain strength. The Cowlitz and th Quinalult tribes made poultices of the wet needles to apply to wounds.

The Latin name Taxus baccata means "bow yew" the very strong wood is excellent for making bows & yew was used by ancient armies for this purpose. So did Robin Hood, who was buried under a yew tree at his request.

Yew was one of the ingredients in witches' brew in MacBeth, and according to Pliny a natural history wine cups made of yew were the cause of death for some ancient Romans. He also reported the smoke from a yew tree would kill rats and mice.

Holly Ilex aquifolium

Harry Potter's

wand is made of Holly. In N Europe holly is called "Christ's thorn" because it was supposed to have first sprung up under Christ's footsteps as he wandered the earth. The Thorns and red berries resembling drops of blood symbolized his sufferings.
The use of holly for Christmas decorations dates back to Roman Christians, and the custom was brought to America from England, along with the plant.


Medicinal uses:

The tea from the leaves was used in the past to treat gout, stones, rheumatism, and arthritis. An application of the decocted root was used to extract objects embedded in the flesh. The bark and leaves were used as fomentation for broken bones.

Other: the wood is white (opposite of dark as in the "Dark Lord") it resembles ivory. It was sometimes used for piano and organ keys, handles of tools and metal tea pots.

The berries are poisonous.



Recourse Profiles of Northwest Plants Peggie Robinson
Pic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aril

1 comment:

Homer said...

Hi Angie:

Enjoyed reading your profile and comments. It appears you're the right person to ask a couples questions, if you don't mind.
What did the Northwest Natives, especially those of the lower Columbia River area drink as a tea?
What did they use as "cups" or containers?
Sincerely: Homer J.