Fruits and Vegetables for a Shakespeare Garden

For those wishing to create a more functional and less formal Shakespeare garden, in the style of the cottage or potager garden, here is a list of the fruits and vegetables mentioned in Shakespeare's works.

Kitchen garden at Hampton Court Palace
Kitchen garden at Hampton Court Palace

The Iris in Shakespeare

Iris germanica botanical print, Iris in Shakespeare
Tall Bearded Iris botanical print

"Who broils in loud applause, and make him fall
His crest that prouder than blue Iris bends."

- Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene 3

Today the Iris is a name given to a genus of about 300 different species, however the genus was only created in 1753 by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. During the 16th and 17th centuries a much smaller number of plants bore the name of Iris. Those familiar to an Elizabethan gardener would have included:

The Flower-de-luce or Fleur-de-lis

Iris pseudacorus, Yellow Iris, Flower-de-luce, Fleur-de-lis in Shakespeare
Yellow Iris by A. Barra  CC BY 3.0

" ... what sayest thou, my fair flower-de-luce"

- Henry V, Act V, Scene 2

Hawthorn and the May Tree

Hethel Old Thorn in Norfolk, Hawthorn folklore
Hethel Old Thorn in Norfolk, by Evelyn Simak CC BY-SA 2.0  via Wiki Commons

"Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear."

- A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I, Scene 1