Spring is coming to an end and summer stands around the corner. As you probably know, KCD will also take place in springtime. After your grate discussion about arrow quivers I am wondering which vegetation was typical in the early 15th century. Which plants, weeds, crops and trees do you know? Let’s say goodbye to the spring with a discussion, pictures and facts about medieval vegetation in Central Europe.
Along with extensive use of felling impacting the mix and some invasive variants being introduced…
For the poisoners among us…
Some vegitables found in middle age europe:
Onions, Parsnips, Fennel, Garlic, Parsley, Shallot, Onions, Watercress, Endive, Lettuce, Beetroot, Cabbage,
Leeks, Carrots, Artichokes, Long-Beans, Broad-Beans, Peas, Lentils, Asparagus, cucumbers.
Sure, but Europe is big and medieval Europe was VERY regionally focused with big differences even between neighbouring regions…
Thats true However even in Bohemia they might have vegitables or products from other regions like the mediterranean for example olive oil and dried figs etc.
we are barely used to olive oil even today.
I’ve found some very interesting sources and scientific articles about the topic which I’m going to share with you once I’ve reviewed the whole stuff and wrote a small summary about it.
Thanks for the topic btw. I think it’s a good time to put medieval life and environment in the focus. Combat, war and weaponry is only a small part of medieval times but these topics seems to overshadow every other intersting issue of medieval life that could play an important role in the game which is quite sad imo. I would really like to have some good discussions about medieval landscape, life in a medieval settlement, medieval architecture, medieval flora and fauna, medieval jurisdiction, social issues in medieval society and all that stuff instead of talking about weapons and armour all the time…
Important were above all the different grains: wheat, rye, buckwheat, oats,. They were processed as bread, but also very often as porridge. Think of “daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer.
Also very important was fruit. A good orchard was considered since the ancient as guarantor for prosperity. Fruit was either eaten fresh, or as a puree / jam.
Vegetables was important, but does not played sucha big role as today. There were several options to make it more durable. Peas and lentils were dried for example, coal was processed into sauerkraut and so on.
Very often it has been boiled into a thick stew. The German word for vegetables “Gemüse” means “something that is processed as ‘Mus’ (= puree)”.
I don’t think that many vitamines survived this procedure
They also like to collect berries or nuts or mushrooms.
Hm, I begin to think that the topic is maybe too big for only one discussion/thread. “Vegetation” includes forests, agriculture, typical town plants, rural development and local characteristics and even settlement design and development. Well, at least there is something to talk about…
Yes, it will not getting boring…
But first continue with vegetables:
Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, corn, all come from America. But many other plants are native only later with us. Others get almost in oblivion, like parsnips, orache, wild garlic , and many more …
Your knowledge and opinion is very important for us. In cooperation with You, we want to ensure that we only use historically correct vegetation. But we need arguments and facts to be 100% sure. So if you come across something trustworthy, don’t hesitate to discuss it here. You already figured out, that this topic is extensive. As much more we need your help.
Books about the medicinal plants.
http://www.moleiro.com/en/books-of-medicine/the-book-of-simple-medicines.html + http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/Main_Page?searchi=Book+of+Simple+Medicines&sartist_id=0&page_id=search&fulltext=Search
http://www.moleiro.com/en/books-of-medicine/tractatus-de-herbis.html + http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=7796&
Theatrum Sanitatis http://www.moleiro.com/en/books-of-medicine/theatrum-sanitatis.html
Tacuinum Sanitatis http://www.moleiro.com/en/books-of-medicine/tacuinum-sanitatis.html
Think spring and you think blossoming flowers and bees. Honey was used to cure wounds in the middle ages (as well as making a good drink called mead), so it would be nice to see a field of flowers and some bee hives with honey combs (you would need to smoke them out first).
Interesting read about bees in the middle ages:
Potatoes and tomatoes. I would expect nothing less from mighty kingdom of Bohemia.
As mentioned earlier tomatoes and potateos are from the america’s not europe.
I don’t know much about it but… I’ve found Archeobotanickou databázi České republiky. Maybe it could be usefull.
They have got a map where you can find some data of few specific areas. It is sorted to early medieval, late medieval… etc.
So this should be a list of vegetation of Chrudim (closest area I’ve found) at late medieval (in Latin).
Also I found this similar list in pdf about Brno and surrounding area (both Czech and Latin terms with last page in German)
there was a really great thread about this. i think the consensus was primarily, the spruce trees would have to be reduced.
I also like to think medieval forests would have been more diverse and less well-kept; different trees standing next to each other, fallen / cut branches, clearings, burnt spots (lightning / fire). From the top it would have looked ragged.
“Although the indigenous forests in the Czech Republic have been artificially replaced mainly by spruce woods, you can still find more than one-third of forests with original tree structure. Forests typical of the Czech Republic mainly include a mixture of oaks, firs and spruce. The symbolic tree of the Czech Republic is the linden; the largest living tree in the Czech Republic is actually a linden. This particular tree is marked as a monumental tree and is called Vejda’s linden (at a point 130 centimeters above the ground, the trunk perimeter is 12.5 meters), situated in Pastviny, not far from Ústí nad Orlicí. On the other hand, the Klokočovská linden in the Železné Mountains is considered the oldest Czech tree. It’s age is estimated about 1,000 years. We are sure that was already a fully grown tree in the 14th century.”
One way to find out what sorts of trees were in the specific area of KDC (if you have no records) is asking the local heritage conservation office (Denkmalamt) what building timber was used. The local archeological office could help, too.