Wondrous Words Wednesday

This week, my words are from The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. There are a number of herbalists in the story, so a number of my words are associated with plants and herbs.

1. Scapes – A long, leafless flower stalk coming directly from a root.

“Reseda Hill stood in her greenhouse a few steps in front of Anise, inspecting the scapes on the coral root she had transplanted earlier that winter.”

2. Amalki – Indian Gooseberry, Amlaki is known as a rasayana herb that enhances and restores the process of conservation, transformation and resurgence of the life force.

“Basil and parsley had no business mixing with hypnobium, belladonna, or amalaki.”

3. Epazote – A Mexican herb that has a very strong taste and sometimes has a gasoline or perfumey type odor. It has been used in Mexican cuisine for thousands of years dating back to the Aztecs.

“Reseda misted the hypnobium, epazote, and derangia in her greenhouse.”

And in case you were wondering about hypnobium and derangia, I think they are the author’s invention. I can’t find any reference to them elsewhere.

4. Amphisbaena – a serpent with a head at each end of its body

“Consequently, she stepped over the shin-high stone statue of amphisbaena, careful not to trip over either of the serpent’s heads (in myth, amphisbaena meat was an aphrodisiac; its skin could cure colds)”

5. Calandrinia – a large genus of low-growing herbs; widespread throughout tropical and warm temperate regions having usually basal leaves and panicles of purplish ephemeral flowers.

“The rosemary and the calandrinia?”

6. Niveous – Snowy or resembling snow

“…how you never grew less enamoured of the niveous white magnificence of clouds as you gazed down at them from thirty or thirty-five thousand feet.”

7. Inter-cycle – ice which forms between cyclic activation of a mechanical or thermal de-ice system.

8. Runback – ice that is the result of water freezing on unprotected surfaces. Often forming behind deicing boots or heated leading edges

9. Rime – ice that is rough and opaque, formed by supercooled drops rapidly freezing on impact

“…just as you know the federal aviation definitions for ice: Glaze. Inter-cycle. Known or observed. Mixed. Residual. Runback. Rime.

What new words did YOU learn this week?


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