Worts and banes were in the olden days a
part of the medicine chest. There is a wort that grows amongst the
plantings at the Post Office here in town. But I have yet to see a bane there.
I remember them from a garden
in Buckinghamshire England. It was a strange wooded spot. At
the end of the garden there was an old swimming pool that had become a
pond. A broken green house off to the right. Many rhododendron,
with that sad green.
The lawn, which I mowed, had so many frogs that
often mowing became a sort of slaughter. The harder work was getting
rid of the St John's Wort that grow around the driveway.
I never had actually met the owner of the house. Only ever talked to
her once on the telephone. I would get my instructions in a note fixed to
a nail in what once had been a coal shed by the back door.
When I was asked to make a start on digging up the St. Johns Wort I
assumed it was an error, because the plant had established so nicely that
it hardly ever needed weeding, and both in bloom and out of bloom looked
splendid. Same as is does at the Post Office here in town.
But it was no mistake, the householder wanted the St. John's Wort gone, and
in their place she wanted me to sow seeds from two large jars. One
jar was called Wolf Bane and the other jar was called Leopard Bane.
As I understand worts and banes, the wort is the good one. Banes
tend to be less, or wrongly beneficial.