American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A perennial Eurasian plant (Potentilla erecta) having yellow flowers and astringent roots.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A plant, Potentilla Tormentilla, of Europe and temperate Asia. It is a low herb with slender forking stems, the lower leaves with five leaflets, the upper with three the flowers small, bright-yellow, and having usually but four petals. The plant has a thick and woody perennial rootstock, which is highly astringent; it is used in medicine, and also sometimes in tanning. It contains besides an available red coloring matter, used by the Laplanders to dye the skins worn by them as clothing. Also called bloodroot, septfoil, and shepherd's-knot.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A rosaceous herb (Potentilla Tormentilla), the root of which is used as a powerful astringent, and for alleviating gripes, or tormina, in diarrhea.
- Middle English tormentille, from Medieval Latin tormentilla, feminine diminutive of Latin tormentum, torment (from its use as an analgesic); see torment. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Yellow flowers of tormentil star the turf, gorse bushes cast shadows, and stunted bracken adds a sickly smell to the sweetness of summer grass.”
“Yellow celandine, tormentil, and cinquefoil gleam as the sun rests on them.”
“Common grazing is no longer controlled by regular burning, and gorse bushes encroach on turf starred with tormentil.”
“By the little bridge itself the turf is spangled with yellow quadrants of tormentil – a miniature heathland potentilla the woody, red, astringent rhizome of which was much prized by the apothecaries.”
“Where life is somewhat improved, they are now made of leather tanned with oak bark, as in other places, or with the bark of birch, or roots of tormentil, a substance recommended in defect of bark, about forty years ago, to the Irish tanners, by one to whom the parliament of that kingdom voted a reward.”
“What fine old names they have, great with the blended dignities of literary and rural lore; archangel, tormentil, rosa solis or sun-dew, horehound, Saracen's wound-wort, melilot or king's clover, pellitory of Spain!”
“The bracken, waist-high at first, was like small hoops at the top of the wood, where the tiny golden tormentil made a carpet and the yellow pimpernel was closing her eager eyes.”
“The other contains prepared herbs which are useful as preventives -- tormentil, valerian, zedoary, angelica, and so forth; but I take it that pure vinegar is as good an antidote to infection as anything one can find.”
“Their banks are bright with tormentil, blue with forget-me-not, rich in treasures of starry moss; the water is clear, cool in the hottest summer -- they rise under the shadow of the everlasting hills, and their goal is the sea.”
“They made tea sometimes of the tormentil, whose little yellow flowers appear along the furrows.”
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