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Oooh. This is how strawberries got named.

MSN has a new book search, and you can, if you so like, download all and any of their scans as full books. Bravo MSN, boo google for still not getting it right.

I did a couple herb-related searches and came up pretty much blank - there's not a lot of herbal or dispensatory or pharmaceutical or materia medica in the MSN books.

But during my searches, this tidbit caught my fancy:
Amos Bronson Alcott: Concord Days, 1873:

"Phillips in his History of Fruits, gives this pleasant account of the origin of its name. That of "an ancient practice of children threading the wild berries upon straws of grass," somewhat as rude country boys thread birds' egg-shells like beads, as ornaments for their mirrors. He says that this is still a custom in parts of England where they abound, and that so many "straws of berries" are sold for a penny,---a more picturesque style of marketing than in pottles, or boxes."

Cool, no? Some other author of course tried to say that the berry got its name from the practice of putting straw between rows of plants, but that's boring, and therefore obviously quite patently untrue.

Because we also thread wild strawberries on straws of grass (timothy, for preference) over here. Mmmm. Summer days.