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Bible Plants: Sage, Sorrel, Watercress, Wild Gourds, Wormwood

Sage -- Salvia judaica

The Mediterranean area is home to many species of sage. Biblical scholars claim that Salvia judaica was the model for the temple lamp stand described in Exodus 37:17-18. Unfortunately, this species is rarely found today. Substitute Salvia officinalis, a Southern Europe native. This sage is used as seasoning today, just as it was in Bible times.

Cultivation: Treat as annual climates reaching lower than -40F in the winter. Grow in full sun. It may need some winter protection from winds.

Sorrel -- Rumex acetosa

Sorrel (also called Dock) was widely used by the Egyptians. It is believed that the Israelites used this as one of the bitter herbs of the Passover meal as mentioned in Exodus 9:25. This plant has spread worldwide and can even be found growing wild in North America although it is native home to Europe.

Cultivation: Grow in any moist soil with an acidic pH. Be wary since this plant is a fast spreading weed in many areas.scape.

Watercress -- Nasturtium officinale

Watercress is another plant that is now distributed worldwide. Botanists believe this is the plant discussed in Deuteronomy 32:2. You will find it growing along riverbanks, streams, and other moist soils. The leaves are used as seasoning in salads and sandwiches.

Cultivation: Grow in moist, rich soil. You can also sprout these seeds since only the young leaves are harvested. Needs plenty of water during its growth cycle.

Wild Gourds -- Citrullus colocynthis

Elisha?s sons ate a pottage called "death in the pot" according to Kings 4:39-41. Botanists state that the pottage was made from the wild gourd called a colocynth. Use any other gourd species as a substitute for this plant. As mentioned with another plant species, you don't want poisonous plants in a garden accessible to children.

Cultivation: Follow the directions on the package of gourd seeds since requirements will vary.

Wormwood -- Artemesia judaica

Deuteronomy 29:18 and Revelations 8:10-11 both mention wormwood. This desert plant was used both as a beverage and as a medicine. Artemisia absinthium may be used as a substitute.

Cultivation: This plant grows along roadsides and other disturbed sites. It needs a dry, fertile, sandy loam or clay soil. It is hardy to -20F. Since it spreads quickly, it may need to be contained.

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