Voynich plant names

This is an interactive section, so that you can help to identify and name Voynich plants.

The aim is to offer a forum for anyone to make suggestions about the identification of Voynich plants and also of possible names for those plants in the Voynich text.

I recommend you look at the very detailed and professional discussion of Voynich plants contributed by an anonymous Finnish biologist.

You could then look at his many specific discussions of individual Voynich plants, which you can search in detail.

As I go I link the pages here below so you can find them easily.

Click below to discuss a Voynich pagePossible plant nameLink to full manuscript
Voynich plant 1vAtropa?Click here
Voynich plant 2vNymphaea? Water lilyClick here
Voynich plant 4rFlax?Click here
Voynich plant 4v?Click here
Voynich plant 5rParis quadrifoliaClick here
Voynich plant 5vMalva or Althaea officinalisClick here
Voynich plant 6rPapaverum?Click here
Voynich plantf6vRicinus communis, the Castor Oil plant?Click here
Voynich plant f7r?Click here
Voynich plant 33rPapaverum?Click here
Voynich plant on 100rBroccoli?Full image



  1. Scholler Jean-Marie

    Dear Professor Bax

    the Name of the plant at page 49r
    is “Schlangenwurzel” Rauvolfia serpentina

    and at page 54v called “Wehweide” Convolvulus arvensis

    best regards

    J.M. Scholler

  2. Scholler Jean-Marie

    Dear Professor Bax

    Page 25V
    The name of the plant is “Drachenbaum” Dracaeno massangeana
    confirmed by the “minatures” of painting >the dragon.
    page 93v
    the name of the plant is Bryonia dioica “Hundekürbiswurzel”
    confirmed by the hidden Picture of a “vulpis”

    best regards
    J.M. Scholler

  3. Peter

    Search more info on this plant. I’ve seen them with us.

    • From an image description for Pedicularis atropurpurea on Wikimedia Commons:

      “Pedicularis atropurpurea in a native habitat on the Alpine meadows at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level near Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Krasnodarski krai, Russian Federation”

      That’s a fairly limited range.

      There are many other species in the Pedicularis family, but none look much like the depiction in the manuscript.

      • Peter

        Thank you Daniel
        i think now, it is “Pedicularis recutita” and this is only on the Alps.

  4. The letters that are substituted have weight as any cipher, although the Author would have had a great memory or he could read his own script. I don’t know how the Author reconciled his understanding of his own cipher to be honest. Maybe he just wished to put all his findings into something that he thought would never be discovered. This is the reason the VMS has never been recognized as a language for the letters that are substituted which are numbers are scrambled, but in some odd way the Author could read it. When I pronounce some words that are in code (meaning the mixed letters) it does have an eerie sound to it like it is Celtic or some druid tongue. Or Old Britain e Runic lingual.

    There is the possibility of an underlying language with the mixed up letters.

    For instance, below the Author uses 2 different spellings for Calabrease (as in scrambled letters)yet yields the same number 67.

    If I pronounce RnRq like RinRaq or like Ren Ra q. Sounds interesting.

    And HENTCQ pronounced like Hen Tic Q.

    It is quite possible this guy developed his own language solely on Gematria.

    I was checking over f100r to see how my cipher was holding up today. The plant below is a type of milky lettuce and is compared to the word, “lactis” which is for (milky plant as lettuce). It looks like rocket lettuce or arugula to me. So Latin words are also found with my cipher which is understandable.


  5. Olivier Comon

    Here my modest contribution on 25v.
    To me, it’s a top view of a sort of “French taragon’s head” before the plant produce any flowers.

    In 13th century, Tarragon was mentioned by Arabic Botanist Ibn al-Baytar who travelled to Syria and North Africa.

    Until 16th century, Tarragon was not popular. In the Middle Ages it was brought by Crusaders. It was used by Arabs to treat anemia and foul breathes. The name was derived from the Arabic word “tarkhun” which means little dragon. It was believed that Tarragon could treat snake bites.
    I hope it will help…

  6. Tineke Jansen

    These are the plants I think I have been able to identify based upon my legenda:

    f. 2l: Haemanthus albiflos
    f. 19r: viper’s bugloss
    f. 26l: something that smells nice, possibly eucalyptus
    f. 36l: downy oak
    f. 87r: currant/gooseberry
    f. 90.2: danewort

    I’ve been working on the manuscript since a few months and I might know a thing or two. I sent you a Facebook message as well. Please feel free to contact me.

  7. mary

    Pleiades or Seven Sisters… I recognized them at once!

    The 7 sisters, there is no doubt in my mind! Even the arrangement (4 and 3) matches the star map… it is in the constellation of Taurus and there are other old images of them where they are in water… water being the heavens, you see.

    here is a link to one such old depiction


  8. mary

    Pleiades or Seven Sisters… I recognized them at once!

    I think that “sunflower” is an immature artichoke, but really who knows… but the 7 sisters, there is no doubt in my mind! Even the arrangement (4 and 3) matches the star map… it is in the constellation of Taurus and there are other old images of them where they are in water… water being the heavens, you see.

    here is a link to one such old depiction


  9. If possible, please provide a list of all the plants in the book. Also, animals and stones list. Thanks in advance!

    • Stephen Bax

      Sorry, such a list does not exist…

      • Stephen, did you lose your copy of the Official List of all Voynich Plants, Animals and Stones again??

        • Stephen Bax

          Sadly yes, along with my official translation which reveals that the manuscript was written by the scaly lizards who live under the earth’s crust….

  10. mabyn ta-mery

    i have just learned of the VM & have read as much as i can handle in one sitting. my observation is that this is a manual for women of the time that needed to keep their information secret: midwives, herbalists, witches (timing is appropriate), you know the drill. looking at the drawings from this perspective, you will see the relativity… Juniper berry is a well-known abortifacient. One person on wiki, i think, said the VM was written in finnish creole – there is much comment in stephen’s arena about finnish herbs. the wiki guy also related the VM to the temple of isis, one of which was located in turkey (one of the choices for some of the language), and it is also an arabic speaking country. it seems the translation is progressing on its own – perhaps thinking in this female way will give some more insights.

    • M. Lane

      Almost all of the plants Dr. Bax has decoded are prohibited during pregnancy. While studying nursing, we researched common herbal remedies used, and avoided, by midwives. Some were thought to increase fertility simply because the plants resembled a form of the male or female anatomy. The plants above were known to cause birth defects, miscarriage, and dysfunctional labor. Astronomy was also believed to play a significant role in fertility and pregnancy. For example, the moon takes almost 28 days to orbit the earth, an average menstrual cycle is 28 days.

    • Stephen,
      Re-reading this thread, I note that Tom O’Neill mentions the Centaury. I’d like to say that he is not the only person to have made that identification. I believe I was the first to do so, and then Ellie Velinska came to the same conclusion, and others appear to have adopted it too – including Tom. (I hope I have the chronological order correct).

      The point I’d like to make is not that Tom isn’t alone in this, but that you seem to rely very heavily on botanical identifications that are far from certain.
      It seems to me that you’ve been mislead into thinking that there is some “authoritative” version of the Voynich story, but that isn’t so. Apart from things like dates, or some biographical information and other objective things that could be found in a wiki or an encyclopaedia, there is almost nothing on ANY individual website which is beyond debate or dispute.

      All are involved in promoting their owner’s views, some directly like Tom’s and some indirectly like Rene’s.

      In effect every site, and in a sense every comment, could be termed a means of self-promotion, or promotion of a preferred idea. In the end, for all we know, the key to the text may well occur as an accidental observation by a person whose ideas in general are a bit “fringe”.

      The Centaury is, I think, a correct identification for that flower. But one cannot discuss it in collaboration with others here, since you have banned him. We come for the conversation, and mutual collaboration, by which one hopes the study might one day be able to advance.

      • Notula


        your “All are involved in promoting their owner’s views, some directly like Tom’s and some indirectly like Rene’s.” sounds pretty strange to me.

        What’s about your own private website? Are you not promoting your own views yourself?

        And: “In effect every site, and in a sense every comment, could be termed a means of self-promotion, or promotion of a preferred idea.” Yes, that’s the way it is and this counts for your site too. You are promoting your ideas on every blog/site available on the net. Why shouldn’t others do the same?

        I’ve got the impression that your only concern is to be quoted.

    • Ozan

      Turkey does not speak Arabic, it speaks Turkish which is the member of Ural–Altaic Languages (which includes Finnish Language). Where is the Temple of Isis in Turkey?

  11. Dr. Bax,

    I like your sight! The only problem is why have you not shared a cipher for your discoveries with all the notoriety you have. It really is troubling to me and I would like to see what you have or how many characters you have which can possibly decode the Voynich. What language is it or are you still phonetically trying to decode the Voynich without Rosetta stone. I guess you feel the pictures are the Rosetta stone. The only Rosetta I figure is the garlic in 99r.

    Dr. Bax don’t you see a recurrence of more letters than others which does suggest a vowel and consonant based language as a cipher. With all your support from a University along with your credentials; are you in fear of an amateur solving the Voynich, thus proving you are selling snake oil, within your process of solving the Voynich. I see that you really want to know the meaning of the Voynich, However your ego I believe wants all the fame at costing you your reputation. What on earth makes you belief that the first word in plant folio 2r has to be the name of the plant. And the way you sound it out is ridiculous. Like I said your site which was probably created for you does contribute to finding a solution to Voynich which I feel I have.

    Centaurea is sheer madness to apply to the first word of folio 2r without a baseline.

    Maybe that’s the problem with academia; too much ego and money at any cost in these modern times can put some of you in a fantasy world and attract followers, because of your title. Now I’m really speculating is Yale paying you to prevent the Voynich from being decoded. Once again please provide your provisional cipher so that the world can see its worn out key which unlocks doors in your own mind.

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Tom, for your efforts and contributions so far.

      I’m sorry to say that I believe that your own approach is not a good one. As I tried to say before, and as others have also told you, it is ridiculous to think that the Voynich script is encoded in the sort of random anagrams which you suggest.

      I’m also sorry that you now try to insult me and suggest that Yale is paying me. Also, if you read any of my work carefully you will know that I don’t believe there is any sort of ‘cipher’. When you are discussing the Voynich, that is fine, but not when you start to attack me so unfairly.

      I’m starting to feel that you are just using my site for your own publicity, and I am not happy with that, so please in future do not post here, but use your own site for your work. Best of luck with it.

  12. Peter

    cotyledon umbilicus veneris

    • Peter

      folk medicine

      The intensely aromatic root is used in folk medicine for bloating, constipation, liver, kidney and bladder disorders, as well as numerous female diseases. The decoction of the herb is considered stomachic.

  13. After careful examination I deduce the Nymphs were bathing at night!

  14. Folio 72r1: Taurus
    uri-wild ox

    and folio 100v: Laserpitium

    More proof that the voynich Manuscript is in Latin!

  15. I’m giving up my Transposition Cipher to help others decode the voynich. I did not use the slashes or Gallows!


  16. Water lilies are known to help with discharges like pus.

    • Derek Vogt

      I thought you said before that you were using anagrams, but what I’m looking at in this post isn’t anagrams. What exactly is the system, in detail? (And how did you arrive at it?)

  17. viddrawings

    I think I might have found the plant’s name at page 90r. The first word of the page reads something like KOTARON OR QOTARON, this looks similair to (anthemis) COTULA, a plant that has a likeness to the one at 90r.
    However, if this is not the case the greek word KROTALON comes close to the first word, but the plant does not look similair to the one on the page.
    What do you think?

    • Stephen Bax

      It is not impossible, but of course it would need a lot more research and evidence….

    • Derek Vogt

      I don’t see the words you’re talking about. Folio 90r is two pages, 90r1 and 90r2, but their first words are EVA-poleeol” and EVA-toealchs, neither of which would be anything near “kotaron” or “krotalon” in any phonetic system I can see. And going by ^kotaron^ in the only phonetic system I’m aware of, EVA-kedorey, that word doesn’t occur anywhere in the manuscript. Can you give any other description of where you’ve seen the word you’re talking about or what letters it contains?

  18. After decoding the Castle folio 86r I picked up a word that was not Latin but a name Telesa of Aragon. Furthermore while researching the area I found a Castle in Aragon that bears a resemblance to the Famous Voynich Castle. I’m not saying its the one, but I had to post it. I know the crenelations are not, “V” shaped but I suspect the artist had a hard time making squared crenelations. This is just for fun until verification after further analysis with my cipher.

  19. Dr. Bax,

    For Folio 2r I found a different outcome for centaurea using my cipher. Its in Latin!
    Please take your time to go over it Thank you!
    From a Proto-Indo-European root shared with the Sanskrit पलाव ‎(palāva, “chaff”), the Old Church Slavonic плева ‎(pleva), the Russian пелева ‎(peleva), and the Lithuanian pelus.

    (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈpa.le.a/, [ˈpa.ɫe.a]
    palea f ‎(genitive paleae); first declension

    (usually in the plural) chaff.
    The wattles or gills of a cock.

  20. Voynich Astrology video presentation:


  21. Dr. Stephen Bax and Rene:

    After re-checking folio 67r2 and thinking about Saturn I found a miracle which forms a proof for the date and my method in Latin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please look over the cipher and realize I have something here which we all can benefit from.

    In the Astrology wheel for folio 67r2 the truth of the positions and planets as well as the constellation Gemini does not lie for the year 1111 and there is no way I can make this stuff up! I have done it I have cipherd the Voynich Manuscript!!!!!!!

    • I’m sorry but one word does not prove anything.
      I see this as a remarkable coincidence. These happen all the time, and these are the occasions that make someone completely convinced about “being right”.

      There are seven potential planet names in these 12 segments.
      If you can translate several of them, then it becomes interesting.

      • Rene Zandbergen,

        Solar System Viewer:

        As you can see through translation I do have several planets and words that relate to the planets. Go ahead and go through the links Rene and please take your time. Notice how Venus is in-between Jupiter and Uranus for the Solar system in the year 1111. Thank you,

        Aeolus-winds Son of Jupiter

        Uranos- sky God for Uranus

        Mars-is known to be red

        utres-both, of two {Gemini}


        • It’s a stretch for my cipher for the word Neptuni. I had to take out letter “s” for voynich 8 and letter “o” for voynich which is letter “u” in my cipher. Also letter “r” which is letter “t” from my cipher is the last letter from the other word so you are pushing my cipher now Rene or my ciphering lol.

      • Peter

        This I get with my key code.
        Unfortunately, I have no idea what it meant.

        • Peter

          and in german

        • Hi Peter,

          Can you give me the url of this anagram machine thanks for checking out my work! Thankyou!

  22. Peter

    @ Stephen
    Is it possible that the plants pictures where I have posted resumes and moves to a point? I know no longer what is already there.
    I do not want to unnecessarily burden the memory.

    • As I already mentioned before, I think it would be of great interest to have all your tentative plant identifications in one place together.
      I find this one very interesting.
      The herb you propose is part of the cycle of herbal MSs called ‘Tractatus de Herbis’ where it is called ‘Agnus Castus’ and similarities can also be seen in these MSs.

      • Peter

        Thank you Rene, it’s nice that you like it.
        I really have no control, which I have posted.
        But even those where not yet finished, are certainly interesting.
        As this example: f46v

  23. Nymphs bathing and swimming at night under the stars!

  24. Hi here is a presentation I made from the latest work while decoding the Voynich Manuscript.


    • Stephen Bax

      Hi Tom, I am sorry to be sceptical, but your approach of picking up letters and making any word you choose out of the anagram is simply not convincing.

      You also end up with sentences like ‘Eat wickedly in order to sentence’, which is nonsense.

      The key thing we now need to do with the Voynich is to try and identify grammatical patterns and elements. It is not useful to try to work with anagrams, in my view.

      • C

        Hello, I couldn’t find your email so I found a comment.

        Hopefully you see this… I believe the page with the water Lilly possibly says as follows. “Measure nenupar accurately for travel” that’s as far as I’ve got so far in the hour. Also I made out the word Tar on the page it’s also on the Juniper page which is interesting.

      • Dr. Bax,

        It’s more about content then making up words. When I go into decoding the voynich with the cipher I created. I analyze every word that certain voynich words cipher in latin which are few if only one. Now when the content is on track I draw from the those words that fit a paragraph with the words I decoded that parse out some sense. For instance folio 1r tells a story about a harlot that meets a terrible end, because she made the soldiers angry.

        Also would you agree that finding the date of 1111 in folio 1r reasonable. If the astrology wheel of folio 67r2 matches planet alignments and a constellation of Gemini derived from all Latin accept one Greek word in the year 1111. Latin words in a astrology wheel and a date in time for a solar system don’t construe the truth. It’s plain to see yet maybe you are not well versed in astrology Dr. Bax I don’t know?

      • Another point I’m picking up all Latin words that my cipher which decodes voynich from. If a word that is not Latin fits the content and rarely do I do this but only twice in the decoding process for all the words I have decoded so far.

        Dr. Bax please take a look at my work seriously before you make sweeping statements.

      • If the author made the unfortunate choice of anagramming the characters inside words, we could have a serious problem indeed. However, there are then two possibilities. Either he did it consistently, and then we’d still have a one-to-one mapping between words. We wouldn’t be that much worse off. Or, worse, he varied the rearrangements on a case by case basis. Then, however, Zipf’s law would have been disturbed in a way that I don’t think we are seeing.

        The real problem with this proposed solution is the following. We should picture that someone intended to write:
        “Greda lena et ope[e] num muta ulta manus dauti[ii] et ut a let[i] repo met[a] ite et et pes edat mali ut plea sum tuae di tepes ….”
        which was then encrypted using the described scheme.

        My Latin isn’t that good, but I believe that this text is not sensible Latin at all.

  25. NEWS FLASH- Major finding using my cipher in Latin for folios 68v1 and the astrology wheel!!!!

    A date has been found for the authorship of the voynich!

    Spiral Map of the Voynich Manuscript turns out to be a ledger!


  26. Update to the ciipher! And here is an improved fr1.


    • Peter

      A one to one encryption (symbol = letter) is simply not possible, and in any language.
      It has already been deciphered the writing of the Inca and Maya for large part. The writing of Easter Isla The cuneiform is no longer a problem today. and was cracked. And that was with less written submissions certainly not easy.
      Therefore, the secret lies within the key and not in the language. If you know a bit about encryption techniques from this period, and this applies even things look quite anderst.

  27. I just wanted to add my website and to show folio 1r a little larger.

  28. Tom E. O'Neil

    Dear Dr. Bax,

    I’m sending you these copies of a voynich translations in Latin in good faith that perhaps you and I can finish the voynich together I believe that I’m very close to finishing this Latin cipher. Here is the first paragraph folio 1r.

  29. Tom E. O'Neil


  30. Tom E. O'Neil

    These are anagrams in Latin, however the sentences don’t make sense and yes some letters had to be dropped to make a word.

  31. Tom E. O'Neil

    I decided to try and decode the voynich manuscript folio 95r page. I think it is a garlic plant.

  32. Andrew Wilkie


    On one of the first pages there is a palindrome. Which in English looks like 8a8a8. Now in English this makes no sense. If we look at 5 letter palindromes on Wikipedia the only one which makes sense where the end letters correspond to the middle letter is Igigi from Mesopotamian mythology. It is a term used to refer to the gods of heaven in Sumerian mythology.

    In one myth the Igigi were the younger gods who were servants of the annunaki, until they rebelled and were replaced by the creation of humans.

    The interesting part is this, Sumerian Paradise is described as a garden in the myth of Atrahasis where lower rank deities (the Igigi) are put to work digging a watercourse by the more senior deities (the Anunnaki). This is related in the Erra poem. Certain commentators have linked the poems content as having celestial divination:


    Within the book there are clearly watercourses running through the book and could possibly be linked to the celestial references.

    Maybe it is a medieval interpretation of the Mesopotamian attempt to calculate the precession?

    I am not a linguist, but the palindrome seemed to stand out as a prominent clue in order to decipher the text. In one language on the planet there will be a word which fits surely. I do not assume the assumption is correct either but it was fun researching.



  33. I can’t load up f41r

  34. Derek
    Now times have the slide number used. Was it really been 12? Sets off her specific to one place, as indeed are scattered everywhere?
    I’ve also been wondering whether I should document the medieval medical application equal.
    now you have an even more hope now you will not get all messed up. 🙂

  35. This plant could give an indication if it concerns them. With this type of sheets it occurs only in Austria.

    • I do like your presentaton of these comparisons. They are very clear. With the ‘old’ tentative indications from Holm, O’Neill, Petersen and EL Voynich we don’t know on what basis they were made.
      Are yours together somewhere on a web site, or are you planning to do that?

      • Derek Vogt

        Adding the folio numbers would be good. I’ve had to find where some came from by matching what the folios look like at Voynichese•com.

        And slow down! Three more within a day after I finally caught up with the last dozen?! I’m trying to get some other stuff done too, you know! 😀

        • Helmut Winkler

          … and references for the images you are showing would be fine, especially the prints.

      • @Rene
        Yes, I am on a webpage, but more of a private nature. Unfortunately I lost my hard disk to my data 5 years ago. therefore, not all up to date.
        Although I know of most plants, but has yet to finish editing.
        For some I’m not sure yet, because I still have to wait and see whether it follows even similar types.I am only at the letter M in species recognition

        Here is the link, then photos / albums.

    • Ellie Velinska

      My personal favorite for this one is Steve D.’s id – Silene maritima- which gives possible explanation for the dots on the petals.

      • Ellie Velinska

        dots on white petals…

  36. Sometimes the name describes the appearance of the plant such as in this example.

  37. I do not know how it is in English, but in German the names of the plants tell a lot from how they were used.
    So could be called on this plant, for example, the text in the VM.
    This herb used against toothache ……

    A scientific name is therefore not mandatory

  38. Derek Vogt

    Peter has given about a dozen plant identifications lately, and looking for phonetic matches for those is the only thing on my Voynich to-do list that would be a direct response to someone else here at this website, so I bumped it to the top of the list.

    I could find nothing anywhere near phonetic matches for these in the Voynich pronunciation scheme I’ve been using:
    66v Argentina anserina
    4v Gentiana pneumonanthe
    93v Diphasiastrum
    17v Tamus communis
    34v Sempervivum tectorum
    96v Smilax aspera
    11r Viola odorata
    13v Nardostachys jatamansi

    So either I’m barking up the wrong tree phonetically, or these appear not to be the plants the Voynich artist(s) had in mind. However…

    13v Lavandula (lavender)
    second paragraph, second word: ^asvn^
    Hebrew: אֲזוֹבִיוֹן “ʔazoviyon; ‘azoviyon
    •I’ve already seen a few other cases where the letter ^š,s^ occupies the place equivalent to /z/ in apparent cognates, enough that /z/ is already included as a third possible correlation for it in cognates, in the current version of my master list (on my home computer, not uploaded here since this addition).

    95v1 Allium (onion; also includes garlic) or Mandragora (mandrake)
    first two words: ^gasgõotn jaobw/ǧaobw^
    Greek: σκόρδα “skórda/skórða”, σκόρδο “skórdo/skórðo”
    Russian: скорода “skoroda”
    Arabic: يبروح “ybrwħ”
    •These would appear to contradict, and it is possible that one is right and the other is wrong. But another possibility is that a single plant is known by both names, or that one plant’s name is used as a modifier to specify a type of the other. So, for example, putting both words in English, “onion/garlic mandrake” could be a type of mandrake that’s especially comparable to onions/garlic.

    11v Rhaponticum
    first word: ^bašthatn^
    Bashkir: дөйәбаш “døyȧbaš
    •It’s common for Voynich words to end with ^thatn^, so that could just be a suffix or a word that often appears in compound words regardless of the meaning of whatever it’s attached to, leaving only ^baš^ as the root word for this plant.
    •This name match depends on either the Bashkir word being a compound word, or its first four letters being a prefix. I can’t confirm or refute either possibility right now.
    •This identification contradicts an entry that was already in my master list for folio 11v, even based on the same Voynich word, but I am not eliminating contradictory possibilities yet; there will always be time for that later when we have more information.

    7r Euphorbia (lathyrisneriifolia)
    first word: ^phatw—”
    Hindi: पाटोबनिकसेनड “pātōbnikasēnd”… sort-of…
    •Peter originally called this plant Euphorbia lathyris, but the page listing names for plants in this genus only gave me something close for one species: Euphorbia neriifolia. They look pretty similar.
    •Hindi and related languages’ names for plants in this genus are generally of the type “senada/sehund/send”, which explains the end of this Hindi word, so the beginning of it, पाटोबनिक “pātōbnik”, is what narrows it down to this species. The match with the Voynich word only makes sense if the first part is also composed of two parts, as in पाटो “pātō” and बनिक “banik”, with only the first one being a counterpart for the Voynich word. Even then, it would be a bit strange for Voynichese to use only the first part without the second or especially the third. Maybe the next Voynichese word, ^xafhon^, replaces them, but I found no connection for that word with anything else.
    •There are also some peculiarities in how this word was transliterated to the Latin alphabet at the plant-name website I used, which I have not figured out, but they mostly apply only to the second part, बनिक “banik”, which is not relevant for us… except that some versions look as if the plant were named after a person named “Patton” (“Patton-kisend”), which would make the name too recent for the Voynich Manuscript

    • Derek Vogt

      Something else I just discovered while doing a bit of follow-up on дөйәбаш “døyȧbaš” in Bashkir as a counterpart for Voynich ^bašthatn^… It’s a Turkic language, and I’ve noticed that Turkic languages in general don’t seem to have come up much in this process so far, so I looked up the same word in some other Turkic languages at Google Translate. The translations for the plant’s name in Kazakh, Turkish, and Azeri don’t look much like дөйәбаш or ^basthatn^, but the Uzbek translation is “bo’ztikan”. That doesn’t look much like the Bashkir word, but it does look even more like the Voynich one than the Bashkir one does.

      The Turkic languages are an interesting issue for the goal of identifying the Voynich language. I’ve been looking at different languages’ sound inventories (the lists of sounds that count as unique phonemes in each language), and noticed months ago that the Turkish one is more similar to the Voynich one than most are. So I thought maybe it’s related to Turkish (more closely related languages usually have more similar inventories). Certainly, in a region where the Turkic family is the third biggest and most prominent, and there are independent reasons to doubt that Voynichese is in either #1 or #2 (Semitic and Indo-European), the Turkic family is the best bet outside #1 and #2. And although Turkic languages have generally not come up much in my cognate quest so far, that could be more because my plant name source just doesn’t include them as frequently as others than because Voynichese and Turkic languages lack words in common. So I plan to do a more focused search for Turkic cognates that I might have missed in previous rounds, now that I have a couple more cognate-finding tricks up my sleeve than I originally had.

      Unfortunately for the hypothesis of Voynichese as a Turkic language, the sound inventories of some other Turkic languages don’t fit nearly as well as the Turkish one does, so it doesn’t look like a reliable family trait. Also, while excessively different sound inventories can eliminate relationships, similar inventories can arise by coincidence as well as by kinship; the two most similar inventories that I’ve seen so far are definitely Kusunda and Hittite, which both have pretty good reasons for us not to think there’s a real connection.

      But one pattern that I’ve seen all along has definitely sustained itself in my search for cognates for Peter’s plant identifications: I have still never found a cognate that’s exclusive to European languages other than Latin & Greek. When someone names a plant that exists in both Europe and southern/southwestern Asia, I find only cognates from languages in the latter region, plus sometimes Latin or Greek, which both spread into that region; when someone names a plant that exists only in Europe, I can’t find any cognates at all.

      • Derek Vogt

        Now that I’ve had some time to do a more specific & focused check for matching plant names that might have previously been missed in the available Turkic languages, I am ready to report that I’ve found… nothing at all.

        It’s good to occasionally get “negative” results like that. It’s a sign that your “positive” results aren’t just because of confirmation bias; your methods are capable of yielding results that you recognize as different from what you were looking for.

    • Derek Vogt

      OK, now the latest four that Peter’s added just since I first caught up with his first dozen…

      23r Dentaria glandulosa: nothing
      24r Doronicum austriacum: nothing
      41r Pimpinella anisum: nothing

      But 22v Saxifraga oppositifolia is a fun one:

      First Voynich word on f22v: ^bn$w—ar^
      Plant’s Hebrew name: בקעצור “bqŋ$wr” (crossover name in common with “hydrangeas”)

      The Hebrew letter in the middle of that word, [ע], is an oddity. It apparently originally represented the one most troublesome sound in Semitic languages: /ʕ/. Not only do foreigners like us do anything we can to get rid of it when we import Semitic words, but even Hebrew & Arabic speakers have been converting it to various other sounds anywhere near it over the years, including /ʢ/, /ɣ/, /ʔ/, /ʔˤ/, /ʁ/, /h/ (including the one at the beginning of עברית, the Hebrew word for “Hebrew”), /ŋ/, /g/, /ǧ,j/, practically any vowel or a lengthening effect on a neighboring vowel (including the one at the beginning of عَرَبِية, the Arabic word for “Arabic”), and, when all else fails, silence. One alternative in Arabic became so common that they even gave it its own separate letter by adding a dot above the basic original form of the letter (ع←غ). Its original sound is now best preserved in Arabic, I think just so they can laugh at the rest of us any time we try to do it. In Hebrew, although they don’t all agree on what else to do with it instead, they do seem to have all agreed not to even try doing the original /ʕ/ anymore.

      So, how did I decide which one to apply here? Seriously, /ŋ/ is just the one that’s most similar to the ^n^ in the Voynich word, so the words seem more similar that way than if we put one of the other sounds for [ע] in there instead, and I’m looking for similarities, not differences. (There’s still an extra [ק], /q/, unaccounted for in the Voynich word, but maybe the ʕ-monster ate it.)

      But, just because of that choice, something else happens which I didn’t notice til after spotting that phonetic similarity using /ŋ/ where the Voynich word has ^n^. You can generally tell which of several major Jewish populations someone is from by which pronunciation they apply to this letter… and guess who it is that uses /ŋ/: the Ashkenazi and Sephardi.

    • Derek Vogt

      I believe that last one doesn’t work, after a bit of discussion about it with a native Hindi speaker.

      The only part of the Devanāgarī word we’ve been given that was familiar was the last part, which is spelled wrong, in a way that even presents a consonant cluster that doesn’t happen in Hindi, and he agreed that the Devanāgarī and Latin spellings are irreconcilable in other ways as well. The lack of familiarity with the earlier parts of the name isn’t fatal by itself, given that I’ve been unfamiliar with some of the English plant names I’ve seen along the way, but, combined with the other flaws in the Devanāgarī spelling, it does mean we can’t put much weight on the पाटोबनि “pātōbni” at the beginning. That leaves us with no credible sign of what belongs there other than the “Patton” as given in the Latin alphabet, and things wouldn’t start getting names like that in India until the nineteenth century. Plus, as I knew all along and mentioned in the first place, this would have been a name for a species at best, and most of the names that matter in this kind of context are genus-level names; a Voynich phonetic match should have equated to the last section of the Devanāgarī word, rather than the first. So, the resemblance between पाटो “pātō” and ^phatw—^ looks like just a coincidence.

  39. And sometimes they give us a lot of hints.
    This is not yet worked out, but the pictures speak for themselves.

    I hope you like my work.

  40. You think this one. f17v

    • or f96v. Same time I think, I have to Change it. If I look of the roots.

      • MarcoP

        Hello Peter, we discussed Smilax a while ago:

        I don’t think we were able to connect the identification with the first words of the paragraph (EVA: psheoas.sheeor).

        • Hi Marco, I also do not think the first words refer to the name of the plant. I’d bet more on the prestigious area where it grows, as dry, wet, light and dark, etc.
          Example. The fiery often occurs in damp places.

          Better experiences I have made in the part of the Zodiac. Each plant has a time when it is ready for harvesting, or the special ingredients are particularly strong. Above all, he must indicate that he himself knows what time and plant is the name.

  41. Yves Laflute

    What planet was this book found on? I never seen so many plants alien to me. I know a lot of east north american flora. F14r looks like a specie of arrowroot, at least the foliage. F17v : I know this plant, or a similar one, it grows a lot like the “petit liseron” (French) but the flowers/fruits are very different, I cant think of the name now. The section showing many women: Seems to me the women depict some effects of the medicinal herbs. on F80R they look like they are cleansing kidneys. and in F82v, each women, or effect, has a name beside. The last section is obviously recipes. I hope this is correct and it leads to greater understanding, eventually to translate the work.

    • Stephen Bax

      With reference to your point that many plants seem alien to you, you could usefully read the wise essay by the anonymous Finnish botanist here, which offers many reasons why the plants in the manuscript might not match our modern ideas of what they look like.

  42. Nardostachys jatamansi (Indian Nard)
    But for the same application is also used Lavandula (lavender)
    Sometimes (Gallic Nard) called.


  43. Lakshmi

    Fascinated by your research work. Wonder if Indus valley script can be solved that way.
    While going through linguistics site omniglot.com I was struck by some similarities between what you have diciphered and the Tigrinya and ge’ez language scripts. Especially the 4 which seems to stand for f sound and the symbol which looks like m with tail seems to be the letter s. Anyway this is pure visual pattern match.

  44. F95v Allermannsharnisch has more mythical than medical effect.
    Unfortunately, this is not indicated on the English wiki.
    Here translation at Google.
    It is in this kind of leek to a “magic plant” whose netzfaserige onion cases the carrier promised chainmail-like protection.

    Who in your pocket bore the onion with him, the evil spirits would not need to fear. Crisscross nailed over the stable door, you should keep the cattle of witches, and the children in the cradle, it should protect against the “decry” (Enchant).

    A human-like shaped “rootstock” said Bliss Heinzel or Hangman. Who wore it around his neck, should be immune to all evil influences, have luck in love and in the game and be spared from the venom of poisonous snakes.

    Such rhizomes were also called mandrake, a Allermannsharnisch-mandrake from the possession of Emperor Rudolf II. Is preserved in the Viennese court library.

    A Swiss legend tells that dwarves have turned on the retreat from civilization in the rootstock of Allermannsharnisch.


    In his little Destillierbuch dating back to 1500 Hieronymus Brunschwig mentioned for the first time Allermannsharnisch and the Common Gladiolus.

    The Indian nard he compared with the Allermannsharnisch [3]: “. Spica Nardi is a Blum or gewechs in the form of long sig Wurtz [= Allermannsharnisch] genant of the Latin rule herba victorialis” In the chapter on Maidenhair he wrote [4]: ​​”Gegloubt Würt of einfeltigen people [… If you Polytrichum commune] with one kruts wurtzeln from the Latin herba victorialis rule on the wearing neck are long in tongues tütschen syg Wurtz [= Allermannsharnisch] dz they are nit sore VND ir find überwynden sint. Wherefore sigwurtz od all you genant harnsch Würt vmb dz ir Wurtzel coated as Herlin in the form of pantzers. the figure II are around [= Common Gladiolus] VND lang [= Allermannsharnisch]. around in ‘s largest one finger. offt be beid gebrucht in sollicher measure. … “Otto Brunfels quoted Brunschwigs remarks in his German herb book [5].

    An apotropaic use of Allermannsharnisch described Tabernaemontanus 1588 in its herb book [6]: “The Siegwurtz is therefore genent / Seeing then the miners derselbigen use / and the ghost evil spirits darmit while away / to from which they very challenged.” [7]


  45. And here’s a link, as has been the variety of plants used.

  46. f11r ist to 80 % Viola odorata

    • Sorry, if the Foto take a lot place.

  47. Darren Worley

    Given the current direction of research – this website might be useful.


    It lists the medieval names of herbs in various European languages, and cross-references the manuscript source.

  48. As Stephen may remember from my Mondragone presentation in 2012, there is an interesting case on f35v (possibly know to most people by now). The illustration on the left is from the Voynich MS. It looks like an oak tree, but the fruit-like objects don’t fit. In Mrs Voynich’s notebooks it is called ‘uva quercina’ or also ‘the fabulous grapes of oak’.
    The figure on the right is from the Manfredus herbal (Paris MS Lat.6823) and shows ‘edera nigra’.
    Note that Edith Sherwood independently found the same similarity in another herbal MS: Sloane 4016. The two herbal MSs both belong to the tradition ‘Tractatus de Herbis’.
    It is hard to imagine that the Voynich draughtsman came up with this drawing without having seen an example from a MS, probably a copy of Tractatus.
    For the Manfredus MS, we know exactly where it was preserved round the time of the Voynich MS creation, but we can’t be at all sure that this was the example used.
    The early copies of this herbal tradition originate from Southern Italy, and the copies around the turn of the 15th C from Northern Italy. Another (somewhat different) branch originated from France.
    I know of one copy (Munich Cim 79, previously UB Codex 604) which was composed north of the Alps, after 1440.

  49. Derek Vogt

    Illustrating my own few plant identifications with pictures: hawthorn

    • Derek Vogt

      Illustrating my own few plant identifications with pictures: basil

      • MarcoP

        Hello Derek,
        I think that f22r could be another candidate for “basil”.

        The first words are EVA:pol olshy, possibly reading something like bash ashxn

        Latin: Basilicus, but also herba Basilisca
        Greek: basilikon, but I think possibly also  βασιλίσκον /βασιλίσκος / basiliskos
        Czech: bazalka
        “basalico” is found in Northern Italian dialects (e.g. Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto). Ligury:baxaicò

        Basil typically grows about 30 cm tall, with opposite leaves. In some varieties (e.g. Genovese) leaves are “strongly convex with turned down margins” (“Breeding Research on Aromatic and Medicinal Plants” By Christopher B Johnson, Chlodwig Franz). The flowers are white or purple, depending on the variety. They are arranged in terminal spikes and produce tiny rust-colored fruits. The roots are thin and white.

    • Derek Vogt

      Illustrating my own few plant identifications with pictures: croton/rushfoil

    • Derek Vogt

      Illustrating my own few plant identifications with pictures: gaharu/agar

    • Lactuca alpina

  50. Derek Vogt

    Illustrating my own few plant identifications with pictures:

  51. Hi,
    Just a note to lete veryone know the http://www.voynichgardens.com
    is now open to the general public and not just secluded among peers. The Plants really come to life now and the list is fairly compete for the main folios and coming along rapidly for the Potion Folios in the back, so rapidly that I have not been able to fully Photo Document each ID there, just on the VoyList.

    These have all been peer reviewed and many have stood scrutiny for several years,
    AS always, anyone who has a better or higher level ID is welcome to send them over for review. Sorry I cannot document the hundreds of discarded ID’s we can only post the best current ones, otherwise there would only be chaos instead of real progress.

    SO I highly advise everyone who is trying to work with the plants or plant words etc to be sure to grab a copy of the latest ID’s. I assure everyone that no stone has been left unturned, and this has been gone over with tremendous effort, over 500,000 photos and vast years of Horticulture among the crew. Yet a small number of Enigmas remain
    and not all ID’s have reached highest Level 4, where the real connections of History, Botany & Healing Arts occur. Some recent ID’s have been most delightful and overdue ie. f89v2 Mangelwurzel and Mugwort 😉

    • Derek Vogt

      What does the “Offer” column next to the “Google” and “Wiki” columns refer to?

    • What me is a little surprised that only small details are considered by plants to klasivizieren to them and to assign. the others are some 3,000 miles home mixing, as well as tropical and arid regions. Certainly a nice job, but unfortunately no scientific value to me.

      here’s a pattern

  52. David Wiffler

    The similarity between the Dragon Tree and this Voynich plant is interesting, particularly considering the little dragon in the illustration.

    • Derek Vogt

      I get ^+ãkn^ for the second word on the page. The letter ^a^ so often seems to be associated with an unwritten /r/ or /L/ that I’ve taken to representing examples where that rule seems to apply with a tilde, thus ^ã^, giving us the equivalent of something like “+arkn” or possibly “+arakn”. The ^+^ at the beginning is EVA-Q, a symbol I have not assigned a sound to so far, so if we start calling it the equivalent of /d/ now, we get ^dãkn^, which would equate to something like “darkn” or possibly “darakn”.

      The /g/ in our word “dragon” is altered from a /k/ in the original Greek word, which has not been altered that way in most other languages that imported it. For example, this plant’s Persian name is دراکائنا, “draka’na”. (Or maybe more like “drakayna” or “draka’yna”… I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation of what to do with a hamza on top of a letter that isn’t ‘alif… but any are close enough for now.)

      Incidentally, that’s the second word beginning with EVA-Q that I’ve seen reasonable cognates for today, after a year and a half with no indicators of its sound at all (or even really a sign that it had one). The other one looked related to a Persian word starting with /g/ and its modern standard Arabic counterpart starting with /j,ǧ/, which is what all occurrences of /g/ evolved into. So this doesn’t nail down EVA-Q’s sound precisely yet, and even if it did, we would still have no explanation for why it would only appear at the beginnings of words.

      • Derek Vogt

        Nevermind… ^+akn^ appears 156 times: too many for any one plant’s name.

        • David Wiffler

          Thanks anyhow for having a look. There are 14 words unique to that page. When I get a bit of time next week I’ll do a bit of searching around. I’ll compile a list of words for dragon. I had a bit of a look today and there seems to be quite a few.

  53. Derek Vogt

    A few new ones I found while going back through my list of other people’s past plant identifications to catch words that I had skipped before because I couldn’t manage India’s alphabets yet…

    17v ^bhataš^, genus Dioscorea (yams; sweet potatoes)
    Marathi: बटाटा “baʈāʈā”, बटाटे “baʈāʈē”
    Gujarati: બટાટો “baʈāʈō”, બટાટાનો “baʈāʈānō”, બટાકાની “baʈākānī”
    Taíno, Spanish, Portuguese: batata
    Italian: patata
    English: potato
    ▶Following a ^b^ with an ^h^ that has no counterpart in apparent cognates is nothing new, and de-repetition of the “ta” element isn’t either, so this looks practically perfect from a purely phonetic & botanical point of view. But I almost didn’t include this one here at all because it seemed to conflict with the Voynich Manuscript’s historical context. The Asian (and Indonesian) languages with some form of “batata” as the word for yams got it from Europeans, who got it from the Taíno, who lived on Carribean islands. By the time Europeans got there, the Voynich Manuscript’s vellum had already been made several decades before, so it’s impossible for a cognate of a New World name for a New World plant (the potato) to have already been used for a comparable plant in the Old World when that vellum was made. My first thought was that this made the phonetic similarity just a coincidence. In identification of cognates, coincidences do happen, routinely. So it’s easy to write one off after catching a bit of trouble like this with it. However, I’m keeping it for now because I can’t eliminate the possibility (or even know how to estimate the odds) that the manuscript’s writing, or at least part of it, was done years after the creation of the carbon-tested vellum.

    09r-c-1 ^nghwr^, Vitis vinifera (common grape)
    Persian, Urdu: انگور “angwr”
    Hindi: अंगूर “Aŋgūra”
    Punjabi: ਅੰਗੂਰ “Aŋgūɾa”
    Nepali: अङ्गुरको “Aŋgurakō”
    ▶The third “paragraph” would seem to be too late in the page to announce the plant’s name, but it’s only a few words, and it’s indented, so it doesn’t look like it’s really a third paragraph of the text. It looks like an extra label added as an afterthought, like a caption for the picture or an addendum to the text, separate from the original paragraphs, like the one above the paragraph on 41v (coriander).

    43r ^gwratw–r^, genus Diospyros (persimmons)
    Urdu: کھجورکو “kʰǧwrkw”
    Bengali: খেজুর “kʰējura” (kʰēǧura)
    Nepali: खुरमा “kʰuramā”, ख़ुरमा “xuramā”

    25v ^bãoow—^, genus Plantago (plantains, fleaworts, psylliums)
    Kannada: ಬಾಳೆ “bāɭe”
    ▶no connection to the banana-like “plantain” at all; just an unfortunate example of two very different plants somehow sharing the same name in English

    07r-b-2 ^+agaõo$^ (^+egeõo$^), genus Anchusa
    Turkish: güriz
    ▶I also thought I was onto something with the first word on the page, ^phatw—^, using the genus Symphytum (comfreys), which is in the same family as Anchusa and is another suggested identification for the same drawing. It would make sense for the first and second paragraphs on a page to compare similar plants (or names for what the author thinks of as one plant), as I have suggested earlier for the two paragraphs on folio 1v. I have a note here about ^phatw—^ / Symphytum being something close to “bʰutwrikša” & “bahuwaraka” in Sanskrit and “bahuwara” & “bʰokar” in Hindi (plus possibly some missing hooks, dots, or bars on some of the letters, or “v” where I have “w”). But the only sources I recall using don’t have that, so now I have no idea where I got that from or how to find it again!

    * * *

    …and finally, here’s one for a star on 68r1 that I had given up on before, unable to match the label with any name for the constellation that belongs there. By its position relative to other constellations, star 21, ^gaõoatjn^ (^gaõoatǧn^), should be Ophiuchus (Asclepius), the healer holding a snake (constellation Serpens), from whom we get the image of a snake wrapped around a staff as a symbol for the healing arts. But the association of snakes with healing is a Greek concept. I thought of a different impression that someone more connected to India than to Greece might have of an image of a guy with a snake, and looked it up and found out that the Marathi word for it fits star 21’s label pretty well: गारुडी “gāruɖī”… “snake-charmer”.

    • Neticis

      Note that બટાકાની “baʈākānī” is similar to Latvian “burkāni” (carrots), which is old world vegetable. Orange carrots were selectioned only in 17th century, so, carrot roots could look similar to potatoes before that.

    • Stephen Bax

      Derek, these are fascinating suggestions. We should find a way to put all of these ideas into a single table… Via a wiki maybe?

      • Derek Vogt

        Do you mean the format Wikipedia uses for tables like these, where clicking the up & down arrows in the headings sorts everything based on the contents of that column? The codes I see when I click the “edit” button there look simple enough, but I think they only work in context when running on a Wiki page, and wouldn’t be compatible with how this website works. For that matter, I think I’ve tried to do a table here with UBB table codes, which are slightly simpler than that, and it didn’t work. Rather than try to find where that might have been, I’ll try one here (using the phonetic values of Devanagari & related alphabets’ consonants, in those alphabets’ traditional alphabetical order):


        At another forum where I just tested that in preview without actually posting, it created a box with seven columns, five rows, and straight perpendicular lines between them.

        • Derek Vogt

          That didn’t work, and the list of acceptable HTML tags here doesn’t include table tags.

          Whatever software format would work, I can easily send it as an HTML file or a spreadsheet for conversion. That’s how I already have this information stored at home anyway.

          • Stephen Bax

            My idea was to have a list of all the identifications of elements in the manuscript, but in a form that people can contribute to as we go…. That sort of wiki. However, the updated list you sent is great, so I’ll give that its own page soon.

    • MarcoP

      Hello Derek, isn’t  गारुडी “gāruɖī” close to the name of the Indian constellation Garuda (Aquila)?

      • Derek Vogt

        Indeed it is… especially with that “d” properly rendered as a retroflex “d”. (You can see that that’s what it really is shortly below the first picture on the Wikipedia page; the Devanagari alphabet has two separate letters for these sounds, so if it were a plain “d”, the word would end with द instead of ड. And the Latin-alphabet line below that marks the “d” with a dot below it, which is one common way of indicating retroflexion in Romanization of words from Aryan languages. I’ve been using a tail instead of a dot because it’s the IPA method and I was already using dots for Semitic emphatic consonants, but both the tail and the dot mean the same thing.)

        I didn’t know about Garuɖa before, but now that I’ve read the Wikipedia page, I notice that he is known for fighting and killing snakes, even legendary ones with individual names. So it does fit this constellation’s image, and now I presume that snake-charmers in Marathi are named after him, so “gāruɖī” means something like “followers of Garuɖa” or “like Garuɖa”. That would explain why only one language uses a word like that for snake-charmers while its relatives use other things beginning with the word for “snake”: it was a descriptive term that took over and replaced the original job title only in Marathi.

  54. MarcoP

    An interesting post by EMSmith discussing f13r as “banana”.

    • Linda Snider

      Hi Marco,

      I’ve seen several people identify this as banana, and I tend to agree. I thought I’d post this info from Wikipedia regarding the banana timeline, so to speak.



      Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern day Limassol, including the region’s banana plantations.[52]

      In 1999 archaeologists in London discovered what they believed to be the oldest banana in the UK, in a Tudor rubbish tip.[55]

      • K Lacey

        it was not a banana skin found in London but part of a leather shoe. A hastly identification.

    • Stephen Bax

      I note that EM Smith’s post was written on 1st April…. just a thought 🙂

      But see this 16th century depiction of a banana plant (Musa).

      • MarcoP

        Thank you, Stephen. Indeed EMSmith did not sound very “agnostic” on 1st April 🙂
        Thank you also for the 16th century image of the banana tree. That plant seems to me a reasonable candidate on the basis of:
        * the cylindrical fruits of different colors
        * the flat leaves with radial splits
        * the stubs (left by fallen leaves) at the bottom of the trunk
        * the underground stem

  55. Maree

    I had never heard of this manuscript before reading an article on your discoveries yesterday. After having a look on the yale website I saw libra, capricorn, sagittarius and pisces. As well as symbols for the four winds. Others may have included gemini, leo and taurus, though these symbols were not as clear as our modern one’s.

  56. Paul Hicks

    EVA:pcheol. Could map to pachouli? Usage seems consistent with a plant name.
    Occurs: F3r.p11 first word of paragraph
    F52v.p7 first word of paragraph Drawing could be of pachouli?
    F100r.p1.1 first word of paragraph
    F101r1.p1 first word of page
    F106r.p13 first word of line?

    EVA:opcheol. Never the first word of a line so unlikely to be a plant but could mean something related to pachouli like minty?

    • Stephen Bax

      Of course the EVA transcription of ‘pcheol’ has nothing to do with the actual sounds of the manuscript. The EVA system was just devised to make it easier to analyse the script, so it is highly unlikely that the ‘p’ in fact represents a /p/ sound, I’m sorry to say, so your suggestion of pachouli woudl be miraculous if true!. You might also like to look at http://www.voynichese.com for useful ways of seeing patterns. The words you cite can be seen at:

      http://www.voynichese.com/#/f52v/exa:pcheol/100 and

      That helps us to see patterns. Do you know any medieval plant herbals which show pachouli?

      • Darren Worley

        Prox. Bax – I think you’re being a bit hasty in dismissing Paul’s suggestion.

        I actually think he’s dead right. Well done, Paul!

        In Modern Persian, pazur, is Mint or Spearmint.

        Paul’s identification is consistent with other findings and the plant on f3r *does* look recognizable as Patchouli.

        EVA:p -> P
        EVA:ch -> Z

        EVA:pcheol -> PZOA? is fairly close to Pazur.

        I established that EVA:p -> P on the Rosette T-O map analysis; eva: poey -> paon?; refers to Europe/West/Sunrise similar to the Middle Persian “paran” and cognate with the Modern Persian “pargas” also for Sunrise.

        Can anyone suggest better matches in other Persian dialects or in archaic forms (like Middle Persian)?

        I attach a scan from Dictionary of Persian, Arabic and English by Johnson.

        • Stephen Bax

          Maybe I am being hasty… it would help if we could find an old herbal illustration of this plant.

          • Paul Hicks

            Thanks for your kind words and timely intervention, Darren. I suppose that in the absence of a Rosetta we will never know for sure but will have to rely on the best consensus.
            I understand your comment on EVA pronunciation, Stephen. Based on your breakthrough, my approach is heuristic and uses a hit-and-miss letter substitution to attempt to find words in the Voynich that have a meaning (in a foreign language) that is relevant to the context. This is mainly miss, but I do have about 100 coincidences that I am working on, nearly all in phonetic Hindi. In this regard EVA:p->P is an interim conclusion rather than a lucky guess.
            Sorry, I cannot help you with an old herbal.

      • The word “pcheol” can be pčela, a bee?

  57. Rose

    I’m nowhere near as educated as most of the other people commenting, but I clicked through some of the pages of the high res images of the manuscript on Yale’s site, and enjoyed watching Dr. Bax’s video on Youtube this morning.
    I’m bothering to poke my nose in on the conversation because I wonder…
    If we agree that it is likely the Voynich manuscript is written in a language that was developed then lost in time through cultural extinction, then maybe the reason we can’t quite identify some of these plants is that in the centuries since the manuscript was shared, the plants in it have changed some due to people attempting to breed and propagate them for the benefits they learned?
    I only ask because on rare occasions, people with less education on a subject accidentally come up with “dumb” ideas that can lead the educated people to come up with better real answers. Plus, I think this image in the manuscript resembles a brussel sprout plant – but the flowery bits on top look wrong. I tried Googling “Voynich brussel sprouts” without the parenthesis to find out if anyone else had made this (sort of) obvious comparison, but did not – so I thought I’d inquire here.
    Thank you!

  58. Derek Vogt

    I just (re?)-discovered something about the plant drawn on folio 16r, evidently a juniper. I had been thinking of its name in Arabic (and other languages) as arar. But it actually starts with the Arabic letter `ayn (ع), which represents a sound which doesn’t exist in most non-Semitic languages but has similarities to /r/, /h/, /x/, /ɣ/, and /g/. In transliteration of words containing it to our alphabet, it’s most often represented with that thing that looks like an apostrophe leaning or bent to the left: `arar.

    Similar words appearing on the relevant Voynich pages include not just EVA-orom (“arar”) but also EVA-toror and EVA-poror, which, following the way I’ve been reading the remaining letters, would come out as “garar” and “barar”. This has been mysterious, because other recognizable words in the Voynich Manuscript usually don’t appear in multiple forms plus or minus a single extra gallows letter at the beginning like that. (The closest I can get is another plant name appearing both with and without “bh” at the beginning, making me think “b/bh” could be a prefix.) But the sound of Arabic `ayn is close enough to /g/ for /g/ to be among its few possible manifestations in a word imported from Arabic to a language that doesn’t have it. And, as I’ll post later in our page here on star names on folio 68r1, I think I’ve seen some other cases now where Arabic `ayn ended up as Voynichese /g/ (EVA-t), so this connection wouldn’t merely seem to explain the extra letter at the beginning of the word “(g)arar” for juniper; it would even fit into a larger ع-g pattern.

  59. Anonymous

    While this is for leaf structure rather than root structure per-se, it may give some ideas… (it’s a quick chart for leaf-morphology)


    Compare to Voynich pages 99 – 102.

  60. Diane

    PS Derek, it is also considered good form to acknowledge the original proposer for a given identification ~ if you possibly can. Dana Scott contributed his work on the botanical folios in posts to the Voynich mailing list, and did so for many years.

    It is a most unhappy habit in Voynich studies (though not one I’m suggesting you indulge) of taking and re-using the fruits of others’ work, unacknowledged. Lack of any mention of one’s sources can lead to an impression of originality where none exists, and this is one reason that Sherwood’s site, and that by “S.D.” have little reputation beyond one small, if well-publicised, coterie.

    • Derek Vogt

      I believe it’s already clear which four I identified myself (27r Ocimum basillicum, 24v genus Aquilaria/Gyrinops, 15r genus Crataegus, 31r genus Croton) and that I got all of the rest from other people, so I guess you must be talking about specific individual ones among the rest that weren’t mine.

      Those can all be found either in Professor Bax’s early 2014 paper & video, or in other posts here at this site, or at either of two more links I was given farther down this page: http://ellievelinska.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-voynich-manuscript-plant-id-list.html and http://www.voynich.nu/extra/herb_oldid.html . But I didn’t keep that particular information in the list I was working with, so recovering every individual one and listing them is a task I haven’t done and don’t know how soon I could get it done.

  61. Diane

    Dear Derek Vogt,
    I cannot find anything online – except here – about your research into the Voynich manuscript. Have you a site, or blog where I can study the way you arrived at your evaluation of these botanical folios?

    • Derek Vogt

      There’s no such site. I’ve just been posting ideas here as I come up with them, so if it were arranged in chronological order, it would be no more organized or better edited than a “stream of consciousness”. And as it is right now, it’s not even chronological; parts of what I think about Voynichese phonetics that I came up with at different times in response to different other information I came across along the way are scattered on different pages here, including this one and these (although at least everything on a single page is chronological):

      I have recently organized most of it in a single, much more compact summary in the form of a table which Professor Bax says he will post here soon.

      • Derek Vogt

        PS: I meant to include this in the post I’m replying to now, but forgot… I don’t know that what I’ve done can really be called “research”! 😀

    • Derek Vogt

      For the method, it’s actually pretty simple: take a suggested plant identification to http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/List_bot.html#sec.02 and look through that genus’s page (if it has one) for names to compare with the first few words of the Voynich paragraph.

  62. Karin

    Cho8 g= carbon hydrogen oxygen Amount8 g means disolved in liquid. perhaps taking eight points of a dried anise star plant.

  63. Karin

    Ch3 ch20 h is the chemical equation for alcohol. these were really smart kids from Egypt.remember what you do to one side you write it also on the other side. so they have chemical equations all the way across the page. Just start in the middle of the page. and then glance your eyes from right to left and it should equal a chemical compound equation.

  64. Karin

    All the chemical molecular structure formula for extraction oxygenation maceration is written in scientific equation. hunting for bull or hunting for Taurus means they were searching for mint. it’s written in manuscript connected and sometimes they ran out of ink. but I could still read it. the words must test and testing is repeated often. it’s a play by play scientific experiment using plants herbs flowers and roots and extractions and chemical compounds

  65. Karin

    Sage oil=thujone. sage is represented by the horoscope sign Sagittarius. they drew a picture of a CENTAUR.

  66. Karin

    I forgot juniper.

  67. Karin

    Artemisia flower,hyssop, star anise, lemon balm,fennel., wormwood. powerful concoction even got them through the Black Plague.Thujone is derived from wormwood. Somebody could make the concoction exactly how they told in the book Pending on the moon phases affects the proper extraction with alcohol to create this tincture. the moon effects the results. if done correctly we could probably cure cancer and Ebola.

  68. Karin

    Scientific equations for oxygenation. You start in the middle of the page and then you write on both sides of the page. The same goes for scientific equation for extraction. And fermentation. This tincture that they created Has every plant illustrated in bright vivid colour of what it looks like in all the stages of its growth even after harvest. If you google all the necessary plants used to make absinthe, You will match them to all the plants fully illustrated.

  69. Karin

    Okay I’m going to tell you again it is absinthe!all the plants and the scientific equation for oxygenation the scientific equations for extraction. you can even read the word lemon balm which is also known as mint. you can read that in the manuscript also. and every herb and plant is represented with its own horoscope sign. these Egyptian children a boy and a girl they went out in the fields harvested the plants used to make absinthe and then portrayed their medicinal properties. they started with the Artemis flower. they kept track of the phases of thed Thujonee Moon. they extracted Thujone. Which can be used in a vessel Inserted in the body To dispel worms.They Even drew you a diagram. Fennel roots Heal the eyes they even drew you a diagram there.

  70. Escape

    I think this is a dialect of Gujarati. “Choda” = “cho89” – a plant. All the words, starting “cho*”, must mean smth. around a “plant”.
    f9v: first 2 words are “pochor odorota”. “Panc” = “five” on Gujarati. the flowers also have 5 petals. The second word is same to Latin “odorata” means “Fragrant/odorous”. so thoughts…

    • Stephen Bax

      Remember that the transcription we use for the manuscripts is probably nothing to do with the original language. It was just invented for convenience of analysis. So if you read a word in transcription which is “cho89” it might have nothing to do with a ‘CH’ sound + O and so on.

  71. Derek Vogt


    It seemed to me that there were a lot of suggested plant identifications so far by various people, but not so many name-checks on those identifications, so I collected them all and have been trying to find foreign names for as many of them as possible. This is most of the result so far. (Some of these have been discussed here before, but not most.) Most of these plant identifications are from other people; exceptions identified by me are marked with an asterisk.

    A note on spellings: when I can, I prefer to use single symbols for sounds that are often represented by digraphs (such as š or ʃ for “sh”, Θ for voiceless “th”, x for “kh”, and ŋ for “ng”), leaving the two-letter sequences free to just represent two-sound sequences (s+h, t+h, k+h, n+g). I follow that here not only when transliterating words I find in known foreign alphabets, but also when writing Voynich words, which I’m writing in their actual or proposed phonetics instead of distracting & misleading non-phonetic transcriptions. However, when my sources give me words already in this alphabet, I stick with the spellings I’m given, which compels me to note pronunciation in parentheses in certain cases.

    In a few cases, Voynich letters we don’t have established sounds for yet are replaced with an understrike, if I’m not arguing for a particular sound for them yet. When I do propose additions to our list of Voynich letters & sounds, I make those letters bold. This write-up is divided into sections based on which Voynich letters I’m associating with new sound values.

    Using only the letters we already have

    genus Linum (flaxes)
    Turkish: keten
    Arabic: kattân

    genus Aloe (aloes)
    Arabic: الألوة “alʔloat/al’loat” (“alʔloah/al’loah”)
    ▶The Arabic “glottal stop”, represented here with a hook-shaped IPA symbol or an apostrophe because there is no letter for it in our alphabet, is an abrupt cutoff & restart of sound, done by the “glottis”, in the throat. The nearest other thing to it is “k” or “q”, so the Voynich word here is practically the same as the Arabic one except for dropping “L” and adding a Voynich suffix.

    EVA-S as “S” or “TS/צ/Ц”

    27r, first paragraph
    Ocimum (basils) basilicum* (sweet basil, Thai basil)
    ksar or ktsar/kצar/kцar… k$ar
    English (as an “alternate” name in modern botanical sources): kasar
    Kannada: kama kasturi, kamkusturi, ramkasturi
    Khmer: chi sà (k+h or aspirated k {kʰ}, not x or č)
    ▶Cambodia might seem farther east than the homes of most of the other relevant languages, but Khmer is a member of a language family which originated in India and still has representatives there. Still, this particular Khmer entry seems likely to be a coincidence. I’ve recently seen several Khmer names for unconnected species ending with a second word like “sà” or “sââ”, so I expect that to be a non-specific word that can be included in multiple species’ names, like our “thorn” or “berry” or “wort” or “bud”, in which case it’s not part of the root word here.
    ▶My first thought for EVA-S’s sound in this word was “s“, and at first it looked like EVA-L was “š” (see below). But more examples of words using each of them made me rethink the division of the Voynich sibilants (“s” and other sounds close to it). Some languages have not just fricative sibilants such as s/z/š/ž but also sibilant affricates and separate letters for them. Affricates are sounds that begin like a plosive/stop and end like a short, clipped fricative. English has two affricates, normally spelled “ch” and “j”, rough phonetic equivalents to “t+sh/t+š” and “d+zh/d+ž”. The “ts” affricate doesn’t happen in English but is common in other languages; above, I used the letters for it in the modern Hebrew and Cyrillic alphabets. Those letters are related to each other (descended from the same Aramaic letter for the same sound) and to the Syriac letter that resembles EVA-S.
    ▶In this word, because the difference between “st” and “ts” is only a routine consonant order reversal, either the affricate or the fricative fits as a cognate just as well, given that Kannada, like English, has no “צ/ц” and could hear it as “ts” or just “s”. However, in the only other word I’ve worked out for this letter, which I will address below in the section on EVA-P, the affricate clearly fits better. Also, cognates of words using EVA-L seem to have “s” almost as often as they have “š“. So I infer that the dividing line is not s/š but fricatives/affricate, with EVA-L covering both fricatives. Then the fact that many languages have little use for a sibilant affricate letter could also explain why EVA-S seems relatively uncommon.

    EVA-CH as “H”

    Malva (mallows) officinalis (marsh mallow)
    Persian: khiru
    in India: gulkhair (red khair)
    Arabic: khitmi
    Hebrew: halmi
    ▶Professor Bax has said he’s pretty sure of this identification and the cognates himself, but left the third letter blank. The “k” at the beginning of this Voynich word can already equate to “h” and “kh/x” in cognates on its own, but this “h” brings it even closer to them.

    17r, second & third words
    Artemisia (tarragons) dracunculus (wild tarragon, estragon)
    twrwr ntwrhar
    Russian: tarkhun (x, not k+h)
    Persian: ترخون “trxwn”
    Arabic: tarkhun (presumably x, not k+h)
    ▶This Arabic transliteration is technically ambiguous, but “kh” usually means “x”, not “k+h”, and the sound in the Persian and Russian cognates is clearly “x”, so we probably have no actual examples of “h” here, just “x” in all of them. But that sound often equates to “h” in cognates because either one easily can, and often does, evolve into the other. You’ll see this tendency repeated a few more times below.

    Allium (leeks, onions, garlics, chives) ursinum (wild leek)
    khoothtn aotwir
    Arabic: كرات “krat”, kurrat, كرات الدب “krat aldb”, kurrâth al dubb
    Finnish: karhunlaukka
    Khmer: khtüm sââ (k+h, not x)
    Laotian: kath’ièm (t+h, not Θ/ð)
    Thai: krathiam (t+h, not Θ/ð)
    Swahili: kitunguu
    ▶Other than ambiguous transliteration leaving the possibility that a “t” got converted into “Θ” in one Arabic dialect, the universal pattern here is [k/kh]+[r]+[t/th]+[m/n], with some languages dropping different parts. I also left the second Voynich word in there because of a bit of similarity to Arabic “al dubb”, but that might not hold up even if the first word does. Notice that at the point where some have an “r”, the Voynich Manuscript has “oo”. I noticed a few other cases along the way where “oo” or “oa” occupied the place of an “r” in apparent cognates. I don’t think it’s yet another way of representing “r”, but it could mean mid-word “r” sounds have been converted into a vowel or other type of vowel transition.

    ▶More examples of this Voynich letter apparently used as “h” are included in the following sections.

    EVA-F as “P”, and EVA-L as “Š” or “S”

    genus Papaver (poppies)
    pawr n xaš hašar _aš
    Latin: papaver
    French: pavot
    Hindi: kaskas, khashkhash (x, not k+h; š, not s+h)
    Armenian: xashxash (š, not s+h)
    Arabic, Urdu: خشخاش “xašxaš”
    Turkish: hashhash (š, not s+h)
    in Afghanistan: hashar (from article in English; presumably š, not s+h)
    ▶There are two different sets of names involved for this plant. For the first, it is useful to keep in mind that all occurrences of “v” in Latin originated as “w” and were spelled with the same letter as the vowel sound “u”, so such words’ cognates are often easier to see if the words are written in the equivalent of their older form, as in “papauer/papawer“. The French form is included here to show precedent for de-repetition of the “papa” to just “pa”; apply that de-repetition directly to the original Latin pronunciation, and, using “p” for the first Voynich letter, you get exactly this Voynich word.
    ▶Second, we have not only a group of known cognates in which one position can be occupied by either “h” or “x”, but also possibly the Voynich Manuscript recording both forms, as if in a list of alternate names for the same plant. A catch there is that the manuscript also has multiple other occurrences of this “xaš“, probably because that’s also an Arabic word for dried plant matter of any species, but that still leaves “hašar” in the VM as another likely name for the “pawr” plant. Also, the letter I’m leaving blank in the last Voynich word I quoted is apparently a ligature in which one component is “h“, so we could expect an “h”-like element to its sound.

    ▶As with “h“, more examples of this letter apparently used as “š“, plus some as “s“, are included in the following sections.

    EVA-P as “B”

    genus Stachys (betonies)
    Latin: betonia, betonica, vettonia

    16v, second paragraph
    Illicium (star anises) verum (bedian star anise)
    Hindi: badayan

    28r, fourth word
    genus Rumex (docks & sorrels)
    Spanish: alabasa, labasa, lavasa, alabaza, alabeza, labaza
    ▶Ordinarily I would worry about the only apparent match(es) being exclusively western European, but I’m presuming that a Spanish word that looks & sounds like this came from Moorish, even if modern Arabic seems to have dropped it since then. Notice that this would be our second case of Voynich apparently dropping “L” from an Arabic word. The sibilant here is plain “s”, not “š”, but that doesn’t mean anything yet, because Spanish has no “š” of its own, so imports containing it tend to end up with “s” anyway. The real problem for EVA-L as exclusively “š” is still to come.

    16v, first paragraph, third & fourth words
    Nigella (fennels) damascena or arvensis (wild fennel)
    hbhaš hbhin
    Arabic: habah, habbah, habbeh, habbatul
    ▶In this case, I don’t think the word(s) I’ve picked out here are the plant’s name, but I do think they’re part of it, or part of its description. This Arabic word, in slightly different forms for different regional dialects or transliteration schemes, shows up more than once on a page listing names for different species in the genus Nigella. When not part of a plant name, it means “grain”, or “seed” or “bean” or “nut” in other contexts, so the other word in a phrase with it is specifying what kind of seed, or plant known by its seeds, is being named. And we already know that the seeds are a prominent part of the impression Nigellas make on people. I can’t provide the descriptive word that would match the particular species that are suggested here, but at least this is a reasonable indicator that the Voynich paragraph is likely to be about a member of this genus, which tends to use “habah” or such in its species names. At the very least, it’s nearly certain to be a plant whose seeds would be one of the first things that would be mentioned about it, as is the case with this genus. Another example of this word follows.

    87v, second paragraph, fifth word
    genus Pistacia (pistachios)
    Arabic: خضرأ حبة “xdra’ hbah” (green nut/bean)
    ▶In Arabic, the same word appears again, next to the adjective “green”, to name a plant with a distinct green nut. And practically the same Voynich word also shows up again on the page where a plant has been identified as that green-nutted plant. So this is another sign that it’s a word for seeds/nuts/beans/grains in Voynichese, as it is in Arabic. The Voynich spelling this time is not quite the same as above, but the “h-b-h” pattern is the same, and we know to expect vowel use to be intermittent in a consonant-based script anyway.

    genus Salix (willows, osiers, sallows)
    Hindi: bashal, bes, bis, majnu, majunun, bhainsala
    Marathi: bitsa, bithsa
    Punjabi: bisa
    Urdu: burg-baid-sada
    ▶Although this one is part of the case for “b“, the part that needs elaboration is the sibilant after that. There’s a mixture of apparent cognates pronounced as both “š” and “s”, and that dual trend will continue in other Voynich pages I mention below. It is possible that Voynichese simply often has the sound “š” where others have “s”, just like between German and English. But if this letter isn’t clearly always “š” but also represents “s“, even just part-time, that would give us two letters for “s“, unless EVA-S represents not “s” but some other sound instead, such as “צ/ц”. It’s possible that the two letters could overlap at “s“, but I will continue to use “š” for EVA-L because that is the only sound that I’m pretty sure is unique to this letter and I don’t want to call either one “s” if there’s still any ambiguity about which letter that “s” might be.
    ▶For EVA-S, “צ” or “ц” would technically be the best representation of the sound that I’m fairly sure is unique to the letter. But they are hard to use on our computers and don’t look like “s” at all, and all other variations of “s” are used the same way as “š”, so I will resort to the only other available, easy-to-use, “s”-like symbol left: the dollar symbol, “$”. Think of is as an “s” with a “t” stuck in it.

    Daphne (daphnes, laurels) mezereum
    Arabic: mâzaryûn, mathnân
    Turkish: mazaryun agh
    Russian: вoлцeягoдник “voltseyagodnik (vol$eyagodnik)”
    ▶Another identification for the same Voynich plant led me to another list of similar names, although not as similar. But the reason people have suggested two identifications from this drawing is that they’re just very similar-looking plants, and very similar plants, or even just plants sharing one attention-grabbing feature, sometimes end up sharing a common name. As a former forester in North America, I was familiar with several genera of trees with the words “cedar” and “cypress” in their common names which weren’t the genus Cedrus or Cupressus, “hemlock” trees having nothing to do with the hemlock plant from which the poison is made except a similar smell, a separate genus of “sycamores” (Platanus) not related to Europe’s sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) or Asia’s sycamore fig (Ficus sycamorus) but just having loosely similar leaves, and even a genus called Pseudotsuga, meaning “false hemlock”, whose common name is “Douglas-fir”, which not only isn’t either kind of hemlock but also isn’t a fir (genus Abies) either. There are also at least four genera, three individual species within three other genera, and one entirely mythical plant, all called “lotus”.
    ▶So there’s no reason two highly similar kinds of plants can’t be known by the same name, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two so similar as these in real life were both suggested for the identification of the same drawing and turned out to have sets of names that look like they could be related. I think both Daphne and certain members of Salix were once known by the same name, and then got separated but kept versions of that original name, one version of which is seen on this Voynich page.

    Bryonia (bryonies, turnips) cretica (Aegean bryony) or dioica (red bryony, white bryony)
    Sanskrit: baja
    Hindi: bajguriya
    ▶Here, along with the continuation of my case for “b“, we have another sign that EVA-S is the sibilant affricate, “צ/ц”. The root word here is the same as for the last plant above, except with different sibilants for the third letter. The sibilant’s counterpart this time is “j”, an affricate. Either “s” or “š” or “צ/ц” could be close enough because the place of articulation is so close, but clearly, the closest sibilant to an affricate is the sibilant that’s also an affricate.

    EVA-T as “G”

    38v, third & fourth words
    genus Cynara (artichokes)
    xagaš agoaš
    Greek: agria, agries
    ▶Another case of “oo” or “oa” where another language has “r”

    08r, third word
    Cucumis (cucumbers, cantaloupes, mangoes) sativus (Indian cucumber)
    Arabic: faghoos, faqqûs
    ▶Without seeing it in the original alphabet, I don’t know whether the Arabic “gh” there is really “g+h” or one of two sort-of-g-like Arabic fricatives that are very troublesome to depict in this alphabet, ع and غ. But all three options are easily close enough to equate to the phonetic sequence “gx” in another language.

    genus Colchicum (crocuses, safrrons, colchicums)
    Italian: colchico (“k”, not “x” or “č”)
    Spanish: cólquico
    Greek: κoλχικo “kolxiko”, kolchiko (“x”, not “k” or “č”)
    Hebrew: קולכיקום “qwlxyqwm”, qolkhyqum
    ▶This one looks weird in the middle, so it’s easiest to see what’s happening here if it’s broken into pieces. The final piece in each case is just a suffix, so those wouldn’t be expected to match between different languages. The root word’s first piece is pronounced “ko” or “qo” in known languages, with a Voynich counterpart that I’m calling “go” because the consonant’s counterparts elsewhere are usually “g” and we already have a Voynich “k/q”. The third piece is pronounced either “xiq” or “xik” or “kik”, with a Voynich counterpart “hx”, presumably pronounced “hix”. The only oddity that leaves is the second part, pronounced “L” in all known languages and spelled the equivalent of “tw” in the Voynich Manuscript. At first I wondered whether this was a peculiar digraph for the sound “L”, but the Voynich Manuscript also seems to be missing anything for that sound in other words where apparent cognates have it (see 66v and 28r). So maybe the language had no such sound, and, when words with it were imported, it got either dropped or converted into whatever “tw” is. In that case, I’d also expect some other instances of “L” that I haven’t seen yet to be converted into the Voynich “n”.

    genus Aquilaria or Gyrinops* (agar, agarwood, gaharu)
    Indonesian, Malay: gaharu
    in Papua New Guinea: ghara
    in Indonesia (Papua Province): gahara
    Hindi, Urdu, Bengali: agar
    Sanskrit: aguru
    Tibetan: agaru
    ▶Although I had to name two genera for this one, they were once a single genus, and are still known by one common name in any one language. Although I was initially satisfied with the root word “gha” here and considered “twr” a suffix, the resemblance with the apparent cognates for this plant amazingly gets even closer if you borrow the weird “tw/L” connection I just described and get a root word closer to “ghal” or even “ghalr”, because then the Voynich root word includes something that can correspond to the “r” in all of those apparent cognates.

    Crataegus (hawthorns) ambigua/songarica/monogyna*
    gxar xon
    English (compound word): haw-thorn
    German: Hegedorn (compound; Hege-Dorn)
    Persian, Marathi: khatmi (compound; kha-tmi)
    Urdu: katili (compound; ka-tili)
    another English cognate with the first part: hedge
    Proto-Indo-European root words: kʰagʰ, tṛn
    ▶The first Voynich word here can still be related even if the second isn’t. Its PIE meaning was “edge, boundary”, so it’s been used both in the name of a specific type of plant found at the edge between forest and open field or along untreated boundaries of fields, and as a group word for such plants, and at least one language (English) still has it in both uses. Modern cognates of “tṛn” mean not just “thorn” but also “leaf” or “stalk”, so, like “berry” or “wort” or “bud”, it could be attached to a modifier to form names of an array of different species, and, even outside of names, could be expected to show up a lot in a botanical/herbal book, as “xon” does.
    ▶Voynich page 53v also starts with the same seven letters, so it is presumably another boundary/edge/hedge plant, but that picture lacks the specific resemblances to certain species in Crataegus that the 15r drawing has.

    genus Chenopodium (goosefoots)
    ga_aš; gavaš
    Hebrew: כּף-אווז “kf-avz”, kaf-avaz
    ▶The letter in the middle is EVA-CPH, the apparent ligature of EVA-CH and EVA-P. Since I’m phoneticizing the former as “h” and the latter as “b“, that would make this letter look like some sort of combination of “h” and “b”, so “v” fits the ligature’s components as well as the plant’s Hebrew name.

    “B” and “G” in the same word

    01v, second paragraph
    genus Solanum (eggplants, nightshades)
    Urdu: baigan
    Bengali: begun, bagoon
    Hindi: baigan, baijani, baingan
    Marathi: vangi, marang
    Telugu: vankaya
    Arabic: الباذنجان “al-baðngan”, badinjan
    Persian: بادنجان “badngan”, bâdinjân
    Turkish: patlιcan

    A few leftovers

    genus Satureja (savories)
    Hebrew: צתרה “$trh”
    Arabic: za’atar
    ▶Recall 11v’s two Arabic names under the identification as Daphne mezereum: “maz-” and “math-“. The Voynich word in that case had a “t” followed by what I’m calling an “h” in about the same position. If there is a “z/th” (or “z/t” or “z/Θ”) equivalency, it wouldn’t affect that case because both forms are already there, but it would do something funny here in 20r: it would turn this Voynich word into “kzatn”, which actually does resemble the plant’s other names here. (It’s probably just a coincidence, though, not just because “t+h=z” is a weird idea but also because that root word would include part of what appears to be a suffix elsewhere.)

    02v, second word
    genus Nymphaea (lotuses, waterlilies)
    Hindi: kokaa
    ▶In other cases where Voynich words and Hindi words seem related, it’s not usually with a Voynich “h” and a Hindi “k”, but it’s possible, with “x” as an intermediate state that could evolve from or into either one.

    Ferula (giant-fennels) assafoetida
    Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu: hing
    Sanskrit, Oriya: hingu
    Kannada: hinger
    ▶This one depends on a handwriting issue. If that vowel is meant to be “i” (EVA-i), it’s unusually curvy. If it’s meant to be “o” (EVA-E), it’s unusually skinny. With “i”, the word looks like some names for a plant species that’s been named based on the picture, with an added/dropped letter at the beginning, another case of “x/h” switching, and use of the same letter for “ŋ” as for “n”. With “o”, it doesn’t.

    ▶There are still some other leftovers, but I’ll leave them for another time…

    • Derek Vogt

      Weird… it properly displayed all of my other special characters including š, but not ž or č. Those are supposed to be the same thing as š with a z and a c instead of an s…

    • Derek Vogt

      PS, While I’m at it…

      60 suggested plant identifications that I can confidently say do not have any phonetic matches within the first few words of any paragraph on the same folio:

      38v Cichorium; 95v2 Actaea (Achaea?) spicata (European baneberry); 11v Curcuma longa (turmeric); 25v Plantago (plantain, fleawort, psyllium); 15v Arapabaca = Spigelia anthelmia (pinkroot); 24r Silene maritima (sea campion); 31v Apium graveolens dulce (celery); 31v Heracleumcervafolium; 55r Aquilegia atrata (dark columbine); 51v Symphytum; 17v Tamus = Dioscorea communis (black bryony); 14r Sagittaria; 40v Helianthustuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke); 16vb Eryngium (sea holly, false coriander, stinkweed); 36v Alchemilla alpina (alpine lady’s mantle); 27rb Asarum (hazelwort); 36v Cannabis (hemp); 45r Glycyrrhiza; 14v Urtica (nettle); 08r Atriplex hastata; 41r Anethum Graveolens (dill); 41r Plantago afra(psyllium); 47v Anchusa; 30v Urtica (nettle); 38r Etlingera elatior (torch ginger); 35r Caryota urens(fishtail palm); 90r2 Boswellia sacra (frankincense); 13r Musa (banana); 08v Silene dioica (redcampion); 37r Eupatorium cannabinun; 37r Valeriana; 24v Lychnis; 09r Vitis vinifera(common grape); 39r Crocus; 43r Antennaria dioica; 43r Diospyros (ebony/persimmon); 33v Lupinus (lupin, lupine); 11r Silene scambis; 03r Amaranthus tricolor; 33r Papaver somniferum (opium poppy); 33r Silenefimbrata (fringed campion); 34v Arctium lappa (burdock); 34v Eryngium (sea holly, false coriander, stinkweed); 04r Andromeda polifolia polifolia (bog rosemary); 27rb Alliaria petiolata (Garlicmustard); 27rb Centella asiatica (gotu kola); 31r Achillea millefolia; 31r Matricaria = Chamomilla recutita; 20r Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry); 53r Anchusa variegata (bugloss); 53r Inula; 29r Arctium lappa (burdock); 25r Commiphora wightii (bdellium); 25r Menthahortensis/piperata/arvensis; 25r Urtica (nettle); 32r Mentha (mint); 65v Anthemis; 65v Matricaria=Chamomilla recutita; 42r Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry); 42ra Sagittaria

      There are also 13 for which I can’t determine a genus from the names I see:

      24r Lychnis/Libnis alba Behen; 40v thistle (Carduus, Cirsium, Onopordum?); 16vb family Fabaceae/Leguminosae; 23r “stinkende Mierwurz”; 41r thistle (Carduus, Cirsium, Onopordum?); 18v family Malvaceae; 03r “ferns”; 32v family Malvaceae; 20r “moss polytrichnum”; 09v Herba trinitatis; 07r family Boraginaceae; 32r family Lamiaceae; 65v family Apiaceae

      …and 207 that I haven’t been able to do anything with yet because they involve genera which aren’t included at the main source I’ve been using… which leaves 22 of identifiable genera that I’ve found names for but am not yet ready to post conclusions about. 😀

    • Derek Vogt

      In addition to the two cases I mentioned above where “oo” or “oa” in Voynichese seems to equate to something with an “r” in other languages (55v “khoothtn” and 38v “agoaš”), another is 6v. This one has already been identified and named-checked by Professor Bax using the first word, “kawr”. But the whole first four words are “kawr n _wr _ookwr”, which I would fill in as “kawr n $wr hookwr”, and the fourth word is also comparable, especially to the Persian name “kerchak” because, after the “ker”, it has sounds from the “k/h/kh/ch” family instead of the “w/v/u” family. But again, the only visible Voynich “r” is at the end, in the likely suffix “wr” which has no equivalent part in the Persian word. In the earlier part of the word, the part that does generally resemble the Persian word, the Voynich Manuscript has “oo” in the position where Persian has “er”.

      Another is 93v, “ba$xoatn”. Above, I stopped at equating Voynichese “ba$” with Sanskrit “baja” and the first syllable of Hindi “bajguriya”. But, given that the Voynichese and Hindi words continue after that, what about the next parts? The consonant sounds “x” (Voynichese) and “g” (Hindi) have the same place of articulation, and one of the two differences between them is that the Voynichese “x” is unvoiced while the Hindi “g” is voiced. That follows the same pattern as the sound right before, with an apparently unvoiced Voynichese “$” and a voiced Sanskrit/Hindi “j”, giving us the consistency of an unvoiced sequence “$x” in one and a voiced sequence “jg” in the other, both of which start with an affricate. And after that, we get to “oa” in the Voynich Manuscript and “ur” or “uri” in Hindi. The possibility that the subsequent “i” should be included here is interesting because there might even be a pattern to the difference between Voynichese “oa” and “oo”, in which the former is associated with other languages’ “ri” (visible here and in Greek “agries” for 38v), while the latter is associated with “r” followed by more open/back vowels or none (as in Arabic “k(u)rat” for 55v and Persian “kerchak” for 6v). I’m not suggesting switching the interpretation of EVA-O from “a” to “i”, but precisely what kind of “a” it is could be a bit up the left side of the IPA vowel space map, to æ or even ε, instead of just on the bottom with ä and α.

      Whatever Voynichese sounds are represented by “oo” and “oa” (whether there is an implied “r” or something else in place of a dropped one), the association with “r” in some way could also be relevant to 66v, “akoatap”, which I equated with Arabic “alʔloat” above. It could be spelled the way it is only because Voynichese inherited both the “o” and the subsequent “a” from Arabic, but the fact that Voynichese kept it that way instead of changing it could still have something to do with the disappearance of the second “L”.

      A link of some kind with “r” for “oo” (even if the Voynichese sound isn’t an “r”) can’t be ruled out yet in 41v “kooratwš”, either, because various versions of “cilantro/coriander” have different amounts & arrangements of stuff between the initial “k/c” and the later “t/d”. In fact, I don’t currently know of any examples of Voynichese “oo/oa” where an “r” (or “L”) would clearly be out of place in the apparent cognates. That means this phantom “r” is at least common enough that, in cases of “oo/oa” where cognates have not yet been established, sneaking an “r” in there should help at least sometimes, in theory.

      And I believe it has. There’s a plant whose apparent name consists entirely of letters from the original Bax letter set, none of my own crazy later suggestions, which originally defied reading because the word that it seemed like it should be, without an “r”, did not fit the picture. But reading its “oo” as haunted by the phantom “r” solves the mystery:
      genus Croton (crotons/rushfoils); species probably tiglium
      Marathi: kṭōna (~”krotona”)
      Kannada: kṭān (~”krotan”)
      Greek: κρoτoν “kroton”
      Japanese: kuroton
      Tamil: kurōṭṭaɳ (~”kurottan”)
      Arabic: كروتون “krwtwn”

      This genus now excludes another plant, Codiaeum variegatum, which was once in this genus and is still sometimes called “croton” and has splashes of colors other than green on its leaves. That’s mostly what comes up if you search for images of “croton” alone, so if you want to see images of plants in the genus Croton, you must search for phrases like “croton tiglium” or “croton stalk”. Then you’ll see that they are green with a vertical central stem and leaves that curve out and down like a pitcher spout while pouring, like in the Voynich drawing. (The flowers match either Croton or Codiaeum about equally.) They’ve been used for ages to produce an oil that induces vomiting, which some herbalists have recommended against because it’s so effective it’s dangerous.

    • Darern Worley

      Derek – this is a great piece of work, but I’m puzzled why, given that you’ve previously written on the links with Syriac that you’ve omitted comparisons with plants names in Syriac and related languages.

      I think it would be very instructive to see your comparisons include plant names in other Semitic languages (especially Arabic, Hebrew, Mandaic, Aramaic, Amharic etc.)

      If its the case that you’ve been unable to find the names then if you could indicate this then I’m sure other readers could help out and fill in the gaps.

      I’m not clear if these omissions are because you’ve been unable to find the plant name in a particular language or because it doesn’t fit with the pattern you’re trying to demonstrate.

      I came across this book that you may find helpful: ARAMISCHE PFLANZENNAMEN
      by Immanuel Low. You can download free it from archive.org. It gives a lot of detail about Aramaic plant names, but unfortunately its written in German.

      • Derek Vogt

        Almost all of my plant names came from http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/List_bot.html#sec.02 , where each genus they have gets its own page and that page is a list of names in various languages, grouped by species. It’s great for the shotgun approach, grabbing a bunch of foreign names at once, but it doesn’t allow shopping; you can’t look up a genus they don’t have, and, on the page for a genus they do have, you can’t look up names in a language that isn’t included on that page. I did see Arabic and Hebrew names, some of which are included here, but none in the other languages you’re talking about. With the Arabic and Hebrew names, as with all others, I included the ones that seemed to have phonetic relevance, left out the ones that didn’t, and couldn’t do anything about the ones I didn’t see.

        I also used https://translate.google.com to cross-check for alternative translations, find separate meanings of individual words when the other site gave me phrases, and look up words that aren’t plant names (like the Arabic ones for “smoke” and “seed/nut/grain/bean” that I mentioned here). It does include Arabic and Hebrew, but not the others you’re talking about. And it doesn’t include a lot of scientific terms or obscure colloquial names for seldom-talked-about plants & animals… which it has in common with most other online translators, so even if I had a translator for some of the languages that aren’t included there, it probably still wouldn’t help with this particular project. I was amazed to find a source even as good as the first one I linked here.

        I was pretty good at German a long time ago, but have forgotten practically all of it. (Being American is a big disadvantage for foreign language retention; I could travel thousands of miles and never encounter, in person or on TV or radio, a single speaker of anything other than English, and maybe Spanish.) It would be funny if the impetus to get me to work on German again were the quest for words in languages of the Aramaic family. 😀 But it’s not going to happen soon.

        I don’t think the lack of examples in other Semitic languages has been the biggest shortcoming of my method so far, though. At the plant-names website, transliteration into this alphabet is intermittent; some names in languages with other alphabets are transliterated and others aren’t, seemingly randomly. I can handle original material in the Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Arabic alphabets, but not the ones of central Asia’s Indo-European languages (other than Persian and Urdu, which use versions of the Arabic alphabet). So there were cases where I saw plant names in those languages and couldn’t read them. And I think those languages are the worst ones to have that kind of gap in, because I think they, not Semitic languages, are probably the most closely related to Voynichese.

        In fact, that reminds me of an error in how I reported my results before; these cases where there might have been cognates with Voynichese that I just couldn’t see got lumped together with other cases where I could clearly see that there were no cognates. The most efficient thing for me to do next on the Voynich Manuscript might be going back through those to collect the words that were in alphabets I don’t know and learn how to sound them out. Unfortunately, that will be in several different alphabets, roughly one per language, instead of just one alphabet that multiple languages share like we’re more used to in the Occident…

  72. Derek Vogt

    I’ve collected all of the plant identifications that have been offered here at this site, but I’ve also seen references to earlier identifications, including the ones Professor Bax was working with on his paper published earlier this year, and Saint John’s Wort for the first page, noted by Darren Worley in the essay on Mandaean culture.

    Is there a list of these plant identifications that have been suggested in places other than this website?

  73. Aaron Saucedo

    Maybe I missed it. But, doesn’t it seem that the plants on f87v are some form of Wild Carrots (Daucus carota)? Especially with the flower buds and the blooming flower the way they are? Before they open they can have that reddish middle and the whitish outer rim, but when the carrot blossoms open they are white and look very much like the opened white blossom in the illustration. Here is an example. http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/wild-carrot I think that the plant on the right in f87v could very well be a plant simialar to the Daucus carota subsp. carota. I think that he could have possibly been illustrating the unopened blossoms on the wild carrot plant on the right, and showing a zoomed in version of what just one of the florets look like when opened. Also, the plant on the left has different looking leaves and may just be another variety of wild carrot. I have been looking at the first words of the manuscript to see if it might look like anything related to carrot, but I’m not that good at deciphering the text quite yet according to Stephen’s proposed rules. Maybe it would be worth some further investigating. One thing that I did find is that while most people will say that the etymology of the word Carrot comes from the Greek word καρωτόν karōton, which they say came originally from the Indo-European root ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape), I tend to disagree with this conclusion. And here is why, in Danish the word for Carrot is Gulerod, the word for root is rod. In Icelandic the word for Carrot is gulrót, and the word for root is rót. In Norwegian the word for Carrot is gulrot. As Bax mentioned in his article about possible identification of the Mallow plant, Gul in india is simply red. I think it is very likely that Gulrot in its many variations means Red Root. And, it seems to me that Carrot or Karot or the many of it’s variations basically the same thing, Red Root. Except in the reverse order. Carrot comes from the greek Karoton which is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word for Root, which is “ker”. And in many languages is the word for Red is Rot or one of it’s many derivations. So maybe we should be looking for the word in the manuscript to mean something similar? Possibly something like Kher + Rot ? However, there is a lot of controversy over the word gul or gules and it’s etymology. So, I feel like I should mention it here. Here is link to a website that talks about Gules meaning and etymology specifically with regard to heraldry. http://www.heraldica.org/topics/gules.htm

  74. Deyan

    I’m quite positive the plant depicted in f66v is of the Aloe genus!

    • Derek Vogt

      I’ve been looking for foreign plant names that fit the plant identifications other people have suggested here and their associated Voynich text (without trying to assess the plant identifications myself), and I believe I’ve found it for this one [f66v].

      The Arabic word for “aloe” is spelled alif, lam, alif (with hamza), lam, waw, ta-marbutah.
      The first lam and second alif tend to get tied together in a single symbol, so here’s what it looks like with a separation so both alifs (left-leaning almost-vertical strokes with no arrowhead on top or anything running to the left from the bottom) are easy to see, even though this space doesn’t really belong there in Arabic and unfortunately puts the first lam in terminal form:
      ال ألوة
      I should note here that the final letter, depending on context, can get pronounced as either “ah” or “at”. Also, waw, although originally defined for the consonant “w”, also gets used for the vowel sounds “u” and “o” in some cases, and in this word it clearly equates to the “o/oa/oe” in a lot of other languages’ words for the same plant.

      But the more important letters to talk about here are the two alifs, because they’re used differently in this word, and the difference is crucial to my phonetic interpretation of the beginning of f66v. Like waw, alif was originally a consonant, but a vowel sound adjacent to it would usually be “a”, and it ended up getting used for that sound in certain cases, especially when followed by lam at the beginning of a word. Elsewhere, sometimes there can be doubt about which sound is intended. One optional way to remove the doubt, which is used in this word, is to add a hamza above it to signify that it’s definitely a consonant. Alif as a consonant is a voiceless stop/plosive (same type as t, p, and k), produced in the throat. A lot of languages don’t recognize it as a sound at all, so their nearest approximation of it would be whatever other voiceless stop/plosive they have that is produced the farthest back (typically k/q). But it’s also often transliterated in English as an apostrophe because it tends to be perceived as a hard-edged absence of sound.

      So, with the Arabic word for “aloe” transliterated as al’loat (al’loah in some situations), compare that to our phonetic reconstruction, so far, of 66v’s first word: “akoatw_”. It’s the same word, with Bax’s “k” for a consonantal alif, loss of the “L” sound, and a Voynich suffix added at the end (including one more letter we still don’t have a well-established sound for, but we don’t need it in this case).

  75. Derek Vogt

    I just found a site that offers translation of English words into a collection of major Asian languages. It produces answers in the original alphabets, so you would still need to know how to pronounce them or transliterate them yourself, but there are other sites to read about how the alphabets work. (I can manage some forms of the Arabic alphabet with some work and reference-checking, but the Devanagari alphabet still feels like I’m trying to plot a route through each letter on a roadmap!)


    • Derek Vogt

      Better yet: more languages, results in Latin alphabet as well as original alphabets, and a specific focus on the names of plants!


  76. Jared Butcher

    I am a retired organic chemist who knows nothing about plants. I approached the Voynich Manuscript as a highly compressed form of writing in which the individual elements of the various characters have meanings. This leads to an analysis which resembles a series of incantations imploring God to send the spirit from heaven to the earth through water because the water on the earth has none of the good spirit in it. The chemistry of this request is best illustrated by considering carbon dioxide as the spirit from heaven that gets corrupted by the earth through the formation of various rocks like calcium carbonate.

  77. Marnix Hoekstra

    I found a useful book that makes Arabic botany accessible for people (like me) who don’t read Arabic:
    Aba Hanifah Al-Dinawari’s Book of plants: an annotated English translation of the extant alphabetical portion – Breslin, Catherine Alice Yff
    It is available online:

  78. Marnix Hoekstra

    I checked some of the second words on the herbal pages, which may be adjectives of the plant names.
    f7v, f15r, f27r and f53v have the same second word. So far so good.
    But on f53v and f15r the first two words are the same and the plants don’t look alike.
    This leads me to a hypothesis: Maybe the text has been arranged in such a way that every page starts with a big gallows character – just because it looks cool.

  79. Marnix Hoekstra

    f10r may be a cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) although the leaves are not accurate. Centaurea cyanus is a transcription of the Greek name κενταύριον κύανον.
    The first word on the folio does not resemble Centaurea. The second word was provisionally translated as ‘black’ on folio 29v. Cyanus/κυανόν means ‘dark-blue’.
    I just found out I’m not the first to identify this plant as Cornflower. Ellie Velinska has suggested this too.

  80. Derek Vogt

    Near the end of the original paper & video on using plants to work out Voynich phonetics, a plant is noted to have an apparent name that should be “ksar” (similar to “kasar”, an Indian name for crocus) but no resemblance to crocus. I’m no botanist, but I got curious and did an image search for “crocus leaf” and, sure enough, got pictures of crocuses with long skinny leaves, nothing like the Voynich “ksar” picture.

    However, I also searched for “kasar leaf”, and this time, instead of more crocus pictures, I got pictures that actually do look like the Voynich “ksar” plant! Not only are the leaves wider and rounder than crocus leaves, but there’s also a vertical stem rising above them with smaller leaves and little flowers or buds around the top section of the stem, also similar to the Voynich picture.

    So I checked the pages hosting these pictures and saw that they are pictures & discussions of basil. They came up in a “kasar” search because they use that as an alternate name for basil! They didn’t mention what language(s) that would be from, though.

    To be specific, “kasar” seems come up mostly with two particular types of basil: a hybrid called African blue basil which is the wrong time & place for Voynich, and sweet basil or Thai basil, Ocimum basilicum, which is native to India and has been cultivated all over southern Eurasia for millennia. Apparently, most basils that people normally deal with would usually be one of those, and, of course, single-word names are usually at the genus level anyway.

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks – this looks very plausible to me. I’ll try to see where the word ‘Kasar’ might have come from.

      • Derek Vogt

        I started a topic at a language forum a long time ago asking whether anyone there knew of the origin for “kasar”. Nobody did. But the page eventually came up in someone’s search results while (s)he was looking for something about the plant, not the word, and (s)he registered at that forum just to make this one post:

        “Kasar” is a specific cultivar but appears to have become synonymous with all or most African Blue Basil in the United States. My father-in-law introduced Kasar basil as one of the first African Blue Basil cultivars in the United States around 1993 while working for Greenleaf Perennials, now a division of Aris. The name is derived from his two daughters, Katie and Sarah. He found this entire thread amusing and showed me an old electronic catalog that talks about the name origin.

        Of all possible phonetic search terms based on “k_ar”, “ksar/kasar” was the only one that had yielded pictures of plants that looked like the one on the folio, but I’m fairly sure the Voynich authors didn’t use a word based on the names of a couple of 20th-century children. 😀 Oh well… if you go wading in the surf of historical linguistics, sometimes you step on a coincidence urchin.

        I considered completely retracting this plant identification, but Kannada “kasturi” still fits, with a consonant order reversal “st→ts” and a vowel shift from /u/ to ^a^. Kannada (in the Dravidian family) is the only language I can see with a word like that for basil, and is not a common source for other Voynich words.

        Kannada and its relatives are only native to India, so the only way Kannada fits with the Romany theory is if the Voynich people’s ancestors adopted the word before leaving India and kept it. The usual Indic word for basil is “tulasi”, but Romany has “buzuyoko”, which is related to “basil” and came from later Slavic exposure, so it doesn’t indicate what either Romany or Voynichese had before the Roma met the Slavs.

  81. Pedro Bustamante-Gallardo

    Dear Steve,

    f23v seems to be a Passiflora specie

    Best regards,


    • Peter

      The Passiflora is not possible, since it originates from North America. Be the VM was written only after 1500th
      To 80% is Veronica alpina can see at the hairy leaves.
      But i’m not finish with the plants.

  82. Someone named Sukhwant Singh posted a comment on schneier.com (Bruce Schneier’s security blog), at:
    …stating that this manuscript would have originated in North Eastern Sindh region which today is in Pakistan. He provides an explanation of the purpose and the characters used in the manuscript (saying that it had likely been copied from an older book written in “Brahmi” language).

    As to the purpose of the manuscript, Singh explains that the book would have been used by the local “holy” man to as a place to collect all the facts people would ask him about (marriage and business problems, healing for injury, depression, bad dreams, magic, etc.). To me this explanation sound probably looking at the contents of the manuscript – it seems to touch on many different subjects but (by todays standards) not on particularly deep level.

    In any case his explanation is longer than what I want to replicate here (interested parties can check the posting at schneier.com).

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks – he also contacted me personally and I replied as follows: “Hello, I found your ideas interesting but I would like to see a clear table of the Voynich letters linked to your interpretation of them. Could you possibly send me a page like that?

      I would also like to see a page with a transcription, if possible? For example, look at page 2r, which I explain as a page about the Centaury plant:


      Could you please transcribe the first lines of that page in your system? Would that be possible? I have Sindhi speakers who could help me to translate it if your transcription is correct and readable.”

      He has since said he is working on it. If he gets back to me I’ll let you know.

      • Sukhwant Singh

        Prof. Bax.

        I have already sent the details to you, I hope you post it here.
        The 2 words you sent me means this

        E  means “This”
        J.A CH  means “Tested”
        SABHAY  means “Refined”
        T.A  “About It”

        They are same words in 2 places on page 2r.


        • Stephen Bax

          Thank you, so what does that text mean as a whole, in your analysis?

          Also, you mention that you have sent me the details. Unfortunately the explanation you sent is too long to reproduce here. Is it on a website where others can see it?

  83. Stephen Bax’s Phonetic Fallacy of the Voynich Manuscript

    I have to say that Stephen Bax is reading the Voynich in a phony phonetic form or at the very least he is desperate to find meaning. Then he goes on about several languages used which I think is preposterous. Any code which has the majority of its glyphs or letters between 18-22 in number simply does not decode as several languages. A mere frequency count of the voynich for its glyphs substantiates my claim. You can’t assume just because plants are used through out the text that this has to be the basis of the voynich meaning. You have to understand that the plants could be away to throw off decoding the Voynich. When your hear Professor Bax describe his plant findings within the voynich he even confuses himself when he pronounces the words in phonetic form.

    I do believe the voynich could use a couple or 3 ciphers but of the same language which as you know my finding is Italian anagrams. Then there maybe a layered shift code in some paragraphs or words which changes the substitution form.

    Many messages I believe were encoded during the time of the Renaissance; because the rulers of the day had dealings between the Vatican’s Priests, Bishops and Cardinals and bribes were on the menu, vice versa to obtain favors. Of course codes were away for them to not upset reviling countries and other Kingdoms as to not stain the church; which the commoner need not know about.


    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Thomas, but I’m confused by a few things.

      You say: “he goes on about several languages used which I think is preposterous. Any code which has the majority of its glyphs or letters between 18-22 in number simply does not decode as several languages.” What do you mean? I do not understand your point.

      “You can’t assume just because plants are used through out the text that this has to be the basis of the voynich meaning. You have to understand that the plants could be away to throw off decoding the Voynich.” I don’t understand what you mean here.

      “I do believe the voynich could use a couple or 3 ciphers” Surely we could decide any text by assuming it has a layer of three ciphers?

      • Hi Stephen,
        “You say: “he goes on about several languages used which I think is preposterous. Any code which has the majority of its glyphs or letters between 18-22 in number simply does not decode as several languages.” What do you mean? I do not understand your point.”

        1) First off I’m glad I sparked your interest and I had to critique your efforts after watching you on youtube describing a few words from the Voynich. My apologizes for stating my argument in a harsh manner. I have seriously painstakingly gone over the Voynich Code many times deeply for 5 years. There is only one language within the Voynich Code. Yet of course I believe it is Italian! Now you have to arrange the code via its letter frequency and match it up to an alphabet and the shift code would come in which would change the cipher and key. So that being said, for example in my cipher (Voynich o=e Italian so in a shift o=a Italian) then the whole code changes, but still uses Italian. In this file from Dartmouth edu you will find a frequency count for the glyph s in voynich. I have not approached the voynich in a shift code manner yet and at my site do only use one cipher.


        “You can’t assume just because plants are used through out the text that this has to be the basis of the voynich meaning. You have to understand that the plants could be away to throw off decoding the Voynich.” I don’t understand what you mean here.”

        2) The plants are a distraction from the text is my assumption of the Voynich, because if the code fell into enemy hands they would try and decode plants.

        “I do believe the voynich could use a couple or 3 ciphers” Surely we could decide any text by assuming it has a layer of three ciphers?”

        3) You can’t use two or more different languages to make up a code with the majority of the voynich letters from 18-22 individual character sets. Yes I agree that it would one stand alone text but with a 2 to 3 layer cipher.

      • Well Stephen I investigated the Pleiades section of folio 68r and I was amazed at this translation. You’re wording maybe off but yes it is Taurus. Once again I’m sorry I came across so critical, after all it does turn out to be Toro in Italian which is Taurus.

        1-3 Voynich words in Pleiades, 7 Sisters
        cr et c oi ce one eot r a et
        cacce io te tenere toro
        I’ll keep hunting bull

        You will have to visit my site; its updated with Orion hunting the Bull and 1-3 refer to the three voynich words used next to the 7 sisters. I provide quite a picture at the bottom of my blog so in a way we collaborated and yes it further validates my cipher and your ideas.

        • Stephen Bax

          Thanks – interesting. But I feel we need to know more about the system through which you come to your translation. A quick example:

          You suggest that
          cr et c oi ce one eot r a et

          can be read:
          cacce io te tenere toro

          Where is ‘toro’ in the first line? Where is ‘cacce’?

          I’m sorry if you have explained it on your site, but for me this is not clear.


          • Dear Stephen,

            Anagrams are known by linguists as the rearranging of letters to form word words. Here is your quote.

            “Thanks – interesting. But I feel we need to know more about the system through which you come to your translation. A quick example:

            You suggest that
            cr et c oi ce one eot r a et

            can be read:
            cacce io te tenere toro

            Where is ‘toro’ in the first line? Where is ‘cacce’?

            I’m sorry if you have explained it on your site, but for me this is not clear.


            Its quite simple actually the letters are 19 in number as is the phrase, “cacce io te tenere toro” and the letters above Italian read straight out my cipher,”cr et c oi ce one eot r a et” which are 19 in too. After running these letters,”cr et c oi ce one eot r a et” through an Italian anagram engine it spells out,”cacce io te tenere toro” meaning(I’ll keep hunting bull). Orion represented as the hunter is forever caught in the hunt of Taurus in the celestial Heavens. You have to really visit my site and see the example in my Pdf or at the bottom of my wordpress site. What I explain to you is that the Voynich was so intricately woven with sometimes short 1 word anagrams or up to 5 words in an anagram to translate into Italian. So cacce and neither Toro do not have to follow a direct letter for letter translation as you are doing with Centaur which you have correctly intensified as Taurus which I’m an quite shocked using your methods; yet for some time now many people all over the net prior to you have stated that this area of the voynich folio 68r is of the Pleiades. Yet I’m happy that you associated your finding as being Taurus for it is the bull so cheers mate. You and I should get together personally and research the voynich together.

          • Stephen I feel bad about my tough statement regarding your process for who is to say that I know it all about the Voynich when my cipher is not a 100%. My cipher does not work for all of the folios so I maybe some what right and your targeting the Pleiades was a great start for you as it helped me also. I strongly believe that we could work together on this and possibly find the shift code I have been chatting about in Italian, but you are into your process. Once again I find it truly amazing that you came away with Taurus using phonetics and as I found, “I’ll hunt eternal bull”.

            What I quite don’t understand in your video presentation you keep saying the word, “Could” yet you have garnished so much attention for your work. Why not Italian as you do mention so many languages in which you use as a phonetic translation.

            I hope I can put this image in.


            [Thomas – I cut out your last point as maybe it was private? I thought I had responded to your earlier points? Thanks in any case for your interesting contributions]

            • Stephen Bax

              No offence taken, Thomas!

              It could be Italian, but I am uneasy about any method which allows too much flexibility of interpretation. That is why I focussed on proper names…. but in the end, who knows?

          • Dr. Bax,

            I read your Pdf.

            A proposed partial decoding of the Voynich script
            Stephen Bax
            Professor in Applied Linguistics
            University of Bedfordshire

            It seems to me that your whole foundation of the partial decoding of the Voynich rests upon the Pleiades Section of Folio 68r using Taurn. Well Taurn cannot be Taurus using those 5 voynich symbols. Let me explain and I wish your site would allow for voynich fonts so it would be clearer for others. In simple terms Dr. Bax you used the incorrect voynich font at the end of that specific Voynich word that you translated as Taurus. For example look at this link it is a side by side comparison of your work to mine. Let the world decide for someday maybe I’m right or you are, but as you say you will complete the entire Voynich in 2 years from now and if you do using your methods. I will meet you someday and break my sobriety to buy us 2 Pints of Guinness (cheers hopefully LOL :).
            Take a look at this for anyone interested:

        • Marco

          Hello Thomas,
          in case you are interested, “cacce io te tenere toro” is not an Italian sentence, but a random sequence of Italian words. It does not translate to “I’ll keep hunting bull” but to something like “hunts I you holding bull”. An Italian translation of “I’ll keep hunting bull” is “continuerò a cacciare il toro”.

          The character sequence “cr et c oi ce one eot r a et” can be anagrammed to a few meaningless but at least syntactically correct Italian sentences. An example is “noterò ericacee cotte” (I will notice cooked Ericaceae). I don’t think this exercise can help us in the comprehension of the Voynich ms.

          • Dear Marco,

            Marco point well taken, yet stripping out sentences from the voynich will never be semantically or syntactically correct! I can assure you it reads as the Author intended and may have been encoded that way by Datai, (I’m referring to Datai as the Author for I have found her to be the cipher genius); also she may have had a semi literate knowledge of Italian unlike yourself. Or the intention of the cipher when decoded through a cipher like mine could get dismissed by folks like yourself who over scrutinize the perfection of language thus achieving just what Datai wanted.

            Never the less the words, “hunting and bull” are in acceptable boundaries that apply to Taurus and Orion. Marco I do not know your background, but it sounds as though you maybe a fluent speaker and writer of Italian yet naive of the Voynich, Astronomy, Astrology and Greek Mythology. Please look at the image at my site at the very bottom and never dismiss something from a pure rational stand point of logical sentences that must apply to the voynich; for I have a feeling that your insight into cryptology maybe limited regarding the Voynich Manuscript as a strict language master of Italian.

            Through out history reading languages that are extinct, coded and of unknown origin offer up no simple straight forward meanings. A great example from the English language which are three different words as in (To, Too and Two) all sound alike so tell me how to decode that one if was voynich. Especially, the art of decoding an encoded language such as the Voynich, will have nay sayers forever; even when there is strong evidence that it is decoded by one individual as amateur like myself. There is too much ego, fame and mystery involved in this project. Perhaps circles of Academia may always turn a blind eye to the body of my work or in twenty years it will finally be accepted, but who knows for sure. I’m sorry but I can’t dismiss mind findings from your point of view.

            Thank you Marco for your thoughts:

            Sincerely Yours, Author: Thomas Edward O’Neil,”Voynich Manuscript The Code Unchopped Volume II

            check the bottom of this wordpress site Marco and review my finding of Taurus Orion and the Pleiades code from the Voynich, ciao!

          • Just another note Marco with a closer meaning for what is said in folio 68r for the Pleiades; I did this to fit your needs and other. I like it better even if it’s not perfect Italian. So as you see this decoding process is grueling and tough which takes a mere mortal through a mental maelstrom such as myself. grrrrrrr 🙂
            Voynich Cipher:cr et c oi ce one eot r a et
            Italian: cacce eterne io te toro
            English: I’ll hunts eternal bull
            You can interpret it anyway you like, but it mentions a hunt eternal bull like in the celestial Heavens as Orion is with Taurus or the Pleiades(7 Sisters)!

            Thanks again for thoughts Marco

  84. Julia Juskova

    Nigella sativa might be Nigella hispanica with deep purple-blue petals and CRIMSON (karmin-sk, karmazyn-pl, khuren ulaan –mongol., cremisi- Itl….) seed pods thus not black.
    Hispanica in mongolin Spani khel

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks! Interesting possibilities.

  85. ryan hamilton

    Hi all
    i just came across this manuscript a few hours ago and something occurred to me.
    In Arabic the vowel sounds can be changed by adding symbols above or below the letter(ba-be-bo-bon,etc).
    There are several large letters in the manuscript that appear to be a combination of vowel and a sound change. Has this been thought of, or is it old news?

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks Ryan. Yes, people have indeed puzzled over the letters with small markings over them. One idea is that they might represent not so much vowels markings as some other phonetic differentiations, such as H versus CH, or Ch versus SH. But we are still struggling to find a full explanation!

  86. I’m excited to see your code which is used to translate the plants in the Voynich. Yet I fear the plants may have been used as a distraction from decoding the message. Secrecy was a big game between rivals during the Renaissance and as you know ciphers were the tool. I have provided a link to my url from which you can view my entire Pdf and download it too.

    To you and all people who love to solve intricate problems

    This is an account of whether you would call it fact or fiction; during the events of the 15th century in Italy. The center piece of the argument is the evidence which I present to you of a translation from many folios ascertained within the Voynich Manuscript. Also you will find an improved Voynich font type set used in this book and new discoveries. Hopefully, you as the reader will welcome this intriguing look into a labor of mine through five years of research and come away surprised. In addition, with an understanding of what lies beneath one of the most inaccessible ciphers during the ages, “The Mt. Everest of Ciphers (Voynich Manuscript)” which I can surely tell you drove many to madness looking for a way into its secrets. As the story grows let’s take you to a place near Rome.
    The miraculous and defying code has survived all the way back between 1403 -1438 radio carbon dated; yet now within this book you will see whole folios, astrology, structures, places and many other explanations of this manuscript decoded. A man name Wilfrid Voynich went looking for rare books, as he was a collector. He happened upon Villa Mondragone, near Rome in 1912 and purchased the book from the Jesuits. It now resides at Yale University, inside the Beinecke Library and it is referred to MS-408. This incredible code was known to be in the hands of Emperor Rudolf II whom paid 600 gold ducats worth about $45,000 dollars in today’s money. A well known code breaker named William Friedman whom had decoded the purple code of Japan’s military in WWII made many attempts to decipher the Voynich unsuccessfully.

    Since 1947, scientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain. New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.


    The idea to solve the Voynich came to me when I first looked at the glyphs of the entire MS-408 when I first came across it online around 2009. It was a complete mystery and I desperately wanted to know what was behind the so called curtain of the code; like anyone else who has witnessed its very intense complex structure. A starting point for me was the astrology (Folio 67r) wheel and putting together a cipher to break it down. My understanding of astrology helped too and the wheel seldom had tarot side to it included. I counted the glyphs of the Voynich code that were similar and would number them in their perspective place marks. This enabled me to have at least a baseline for the highest and lowest number of Voynich letters to establish which alphabet I would have to find and match it up too. I tried Spanish first, because of the number of vowels and it did not pan out. Well French and German did not work either. Finally, my cipher unraveled nine words from the Rosetta Wheel (Folio 57v) in Italian and then I targeted the Astrology section with amazing results.
    My decrypting method included this scenario. First I went online and found a great Italian anagram engine which I inputted my cipher into so that it would rearrange the letters into readable Italian. Then I ran a string of sentences together that followed logic and well magic happened. It (Folio 58r) was a mind blowing experience for me knowing that I was making sense out of MS-408.

    The astrology section like all the work in this book is a direct translation from my cipher. Yes these examples in the voynich astrology section are closely if not at times directly related to the signs and houses or Tarot Cards. They are complex anagrams from the cipher into Italian then translated into English.

    If you notice the code holds through out each folio. My meaning is just beneath each Voynich Letter you will notice a corresponding letter that represents my cipher which must always be true for a voynich character. And of course I left out some Voynich cipher letters, because Italian really is only 21 characters in the alphabet. The voynich characters are there yet some don’t have the cipher letter below them and that’s how complex the voynich is.

    So here is the first sentence from the castle folio which unlocked the word Cotone then I had to find some background in Italy regarding that name and a miracle happened, I found history from the 15th century in Italy about Cotone and a Castle.

    Here is three following pictures below. You will notice that the, (character with a back slash \ and the voynich character with a π pi with a hook on top does not have a cipher letter with it) yet the symbol with out the hook over the π is = to the letter r. Then you run these letters through an assembly anagram engine that uses Italian to make Italian words. Translate the words and you get the English translation and it was extremely tedious especially finding the code then putting it all together.

    Have a look and thanks again for your interest and please forward my website where you found the pdf to anyone interested.


    • Jan M

      I have heard of your Italian hypothesis too (some months ago) and tried myself to decode some random pages (it’s long ago, so I can’t tell what pages exactly) using your technique and failed systematically (words just didn’t match anything scrambled or they made very little sense when put in a sentence). So I concluded that it is a mere coincidence that one or two lines gave some meaningful sentences. I don’t mean any offence, just I am not convinced you are right – VM solution method should be reproducible and complete.

      On a funnier note: In a country I live in there is a person who nicknames himself Zlatoděj (“gold-doer”). He claims he had solved VM many years ago and according to him VM is about secret things in a history of Bohemia and its nobility. From time to time he spits out some “interesting” “finds”. On examples he also shows a method to decode the manuscript… and guess what? It is not reproducible. He is making sense from guessing from a completely nonsensical transcription; trust me, his transcription doesn’t have any solid meaning in Czech even after ten pints of beer 😉 It goes to single unconnected (and highly distorted and abbreviated if not nonsensical) words without any sane sentences and no further; this may be property of any transcription of your choice (and of any language you choose too). (This can be proven statistically; in any language there are lots of short words and orders of magnitudes more if you allow for omission and scrambling of some letters and your fantasy to work over “tough” spots.)

      BTW, Zlatoděj’s last message is about Stephen Bax’s attempt… and of course, he absolutely disagrees with any of Mr. Bax’s findings 🙂


  87. Richard Peters

    the ‘tartsh’ is in f102r1.L1.0c (the suppressed the citation).

  88. Richard Peters

    is a one word line ‘dardsh’ (EVA) (is used as the label for the bottom container?). In your system, this could be ‘tartsh’. A tarsh was an medieval Arabic printing block. See MEDIEVAL ARABIC TARSH: A FORGOTTEN CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF PRINTING – RICHARD W. BULLIET – COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

  89. Richard Peters

    I should add that ‘attar’ (Arabic: عطر‎) – your ‘odor’ (using EVA) occurs quite a bit as well (at least 7 times) f105v.P.28;f94r.P.2;f89v2.P2.10; 85r1.P.28; f53r.P.6; f46r.P.6; f24v.P.10

    Via wikipedia: ” ‘attar’, ‘ittar’ or ‘othr’ is basically an Arabic word which means ‘scent’; this in turn is believed to have been derived from the Persian word Atr, meaning ‘fragrance’. … attar is a natural perfume oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly these oils are taken from the botanical material through hydro or steam distillation. Oils can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as Ittar/Attars are distilled naturally. “

  90. Richard Peters

    I was stoked to read your paper yesterday.

    I attempted to use the limited number of decoded letters you proposed to identify the arabic names of other plants in the text.

    Although, probably not an folio with a plant drawing, ‘shodor’ (your tʃ-a-t-a-r) (EVA- f104r.P.11) could be an encoding of za’atar, Arabic for oregano/thyme. The word occurs only once in the manuscript. The first phonemes are both similar stridents if your ‘sh’ (EVA) is like a ‘ch’.

  91. inesaf

    Good day to all. I do not know much about the manuscript, however from a very obvious perspective it seems pages 136 to 155 display some sort of bathing water distribution system,for both individual and public baths; with perhaps blue and green respectively for clear and sullied (or perfumed with aromatic plants) water … maybe even a water recycling process.

  92. Sherry

    Hi- I’m just a coast to coast fan- I say TALK TO A PSYCHIC MEDIUM OR GET A STRONG OUT OF BODY/ASTRAL PROJECTOR. To go into the akashic records n just GET YOUR ANSWERS! It’ll work – I know I sound crazy!!! Lol- much love n good luck! (Trust me tho)


    f9v is a geranium

    • Stephen Bax

      Thanks – I’ll soon make a page for this plant and will add your suggestion.

  94. Russ McDowell

    Stephan…. two suggestion
    1. There are over 30,000 characters in the Chinese language. Have you had contact with linguists in China?
    2. Stuart Davies suggested the origin of the manuscript was Northen Italy. The Vatican maintains an extensive library in its basement. During this tumultuous times, the Vactican suppressed arts and sciences they did not agree with. Perhaps there is a dictionary in their basement, and the manuscript was the only book to escape. Food for thought. Russ McDowell, Victoria, B C

  95. Kelly Bloyd

    Talking 15th c. it might as well be Eden days to me. So my input would be searching around for the origins would help in reading it, but looks like when they just started out in actually blooming with those recording with illustrations herbs, Dioscoride being the first, they often used his illustrations, during that time era, most could be understood. So I am baffled into believing this could be a copy of much older writings incorporated such as ohers did with Dioscorde’s however Brunfel’s did not use often times illustrations from Dioscorde, his was his own work in most part a German, his area used the surroundings language.

  96. Oh. I searched the net and found out that this has already been proposed by others.

    • Stephen Bax

      Yes, it has, but it is still valuable to have another opinion….. thanks.

  97. On the page numbered 16, the plant depicted could be Cannabis sativa, or one of its cultivars. The leaves work well enough, and the inflorescences share features with those of cannabis: an elongated “bud” with reddish “hairs” (as they are called by users of the plant), and small green leafettes (my coinage) protruding from the bud.

    Here’s a composite screenshot of the Voynich drawing and a Cannabis bud.


Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>