Wort is an Anglo-Saxon name, as such it is an old word, circa 1000 A.D. meaning “plant.” Wort to our ear sounds mysterious and intriguing, portent of something occult, perhaps healing.
Motherwort is of the mint family, a perennial meaning it grows in one spot, disturb the spot and the perennial is done. As a field weed motherwort isn’t much of a problem because a single-pass cultivation does the trick. Annual cultivation is enough to keep perennials like motherwort from becoming invasive.
Like a lot of weedy plants, motherwort has a long folk history, one that gives us its name. True to the Euell Gibbons Manifesto, a tea/tonic can be made of motherwort. In the experience of my childhood we shared the habitation of the farmhouse with our grandparents, not an unusual situation on the farm in the mid-twentieth century.
The house had two distinct halves, one that my parents occupied and one for my paternal grandparents; each half had a separate kitchen and living room as well as bathroom.