Cyperus - Cyprus water

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Cyperus - Cyprus water', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Cyperus - Cyprus water", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Cyperus - Cyprus water", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section


[cyprus; cyperi; ciprus; cipress; cipperus; ciperus]

A large genus of sedge-like plants in which the bark or skin of the stem is not differentiated from the core. Some species were much used medicinally and in TOILETRY like WASHBALLs [Recipes (Nott)]. The two most important in trade were Cyperus longus or SWEET Cyperus, also known as ENGLISH - GALINGALE, and Cyperus rotundus, the plant from which CYPERUS NUTs were obtained. Based on texts, it is difficult to distinguish these from each other and from CYPRESS NUTs. Even CYPRE can only sometimes be definitively identified. In the List of Rates drawn up in 1657, 'Ciperus longus and rotundus' were distinguished from Ciprus Nuts [Rates (1657)] illustrating well the problems of identification that may be found.

OED earliest date of use: 1538

Found in units of OZ Found among the DRUGS, rated by HUBDREDWEIGHT, POUND Found in the Books of Rates as 'Ciperus longus & rotundus'

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Rates, Recipes.

Cyperus nut

[syprus nutt; rad. cipressi; cyprus root; ciprus nutte; ciprus nut; cipress root; cipress nutt; ciperus nut; ciperus longus & rotundus]

The small nut-like tubers of sedges of the genus CYPERUS, especially Cyperus rotundus. In America this acquired the name nut-grass. It is impossible to discern in most cases whether this or CYPRESS NUT was intended.

OED earliest date of use: 1597

Found in units of OZ Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.


[cyprus; chypre]

The HENNA shrub, Lawsonia inermis, with fragrant white flowers comes from the Levant and is used to make various articles of PERFUMERY including PERFUME, perfumed POWDERs, WASH BALL, WATERS. Lack of precision in spelling makes it impossible at times to decide whether this plant or CYPERUS or CYPRESS was intended.

OED earliest date of use: 1382

Found listed among PERFUME

Sources: Recipes, Tradecards.

Cypress band

[sypres platted band; sypres bande; sip's band; cipers band; bandes of sylke syprese; bandes of scein sypres; band platted of silke cipres]

Earliest dates of use come from the sixteenth century, but in the eighteenth century the term 'cypress' was probably most often applied to Cypress lawn, a light transparent material resembling COBWEB LAWN or CRAPE. This was usually coloured black (occasionally white) and was much used for mourning. The term came to mean a length of the cloth used as a HATBAND. According to Caulfield and Saward the fabric was usually woven 26 inches in width, and this may have been the case in the earlier period, too. They give a quotation dated 1609 referring to a 'trebled Cyprus', presumably meaning folded to make three thicknesses, used about a hat. This is about the same date that 'treble bandes of silke syprese' appeared in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1605)] and in [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)] under Cyprus. One retailer in the early seventeenth century had cypress bands in variety, including 'sylke sypres platted bands, 'treble bandes of silke syprese' and 'fower platted bandes of sylke sypres' and 'platted sylke syprese band imbroyded' [Inventories (1605)].

Found described as EMBROIDERED, OLD, platted Found made of SILK

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989).

Cypress nut

[nuxipressi; nux-cupressi; nux cupressi]

The rounded fruit or cone of the CYPRESS, Cupressus sempervirens. Culpeper believed that the so-called nuts, which are almost as big as a plum, were 'dry in the third degree, without any heat, and very astringent'. He believed them to be useful to treat polyps and 'blotches and boils' and other similar conditions. Infused in VINEGAR, they would make the hair black [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)].

Except where the context is clear, it may well be impossible to discern whether this or the CYPERUS NUT was intended.

Not found in the OED

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.
References: Culpeper ( 1653, new ed. n.d.).

Cyprus turpentine

A TURPENTINE, apparently a synonym for CHIAN TURPENTINE

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Rates.

Cyprus water

[cyprus ditto]

A SCENTED WATER probably based upon CHYPRE

Not found in the OED

Sources: Tradecards.