Word Archaeology: cytisus

This word refers to a genus of plants with brightly colored flowers that are native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. They normally grow in scrub and heathland areas. The word is derived from the Greek “kytisos” (used to define several woody legumes). The plants, also called broom, became a sign of plenty when it bore a lot of flowers. It decorated weddings. Its strong smell could tame wild horses and dogs. In Italy, people burnt broom to fend off witches. There’s a Welsh myth about a woman named Blodeuwedd who was made from broom flowers and oak to be the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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