• synonyms


[tooth-wurt, -wawrt]
  1. a European plant, Lathraea squamaria, of the broomrape family, having a rootstock covered with toothlike scales.
  2. Also called pepperroot. any of several plants belonging to the genus Dentaria, of the mustard family, having toothlike projections upon the creeping rootstock.
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Origin of toothwort

First recorded in 1590–1600; tooth + wort2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for toothwort

Historical Examples of toothwort

  • The botanists call it the toothwort (Dentaria), also pepper-root.

    A Year in the Fields

    John Burroughs

  • The roots are of singular form, almost like human teeth, arranged as scales, whence the name Toothwort.

  • The Toothwort (Lathraea) is so called because its scales have a sort of resemblance to human teeth.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

  • Parasitic on the roots of the hazel is found the curious leafless Lathraea Squamaria or toothwort.

British Dictionary definitions for toothwort


  1. a parasitic European scrophulariaceous plant, Lathraea squamaria, having no green parts, scaly cream or pink stems, pinkish flowers, and a rhizome covered with toothlike scales
  2. any North American or Eurasian plant of the genus Dentaria, having creeping rhizomes covered with toothlike projections: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also crinkleroot
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012