Welcome to the Outlander Plant Guide.

My name is Marie McKinsey. I have been a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of books for years. Like many of you, I feel as though I know Claire, Jamie and the array of characters I've met by reading thousands of pages about their lives and adventures. I particularly identify with Claire because I was once a young nursing student, working in various hospitals and nursing homes, until I decided on a different career. All these years later, I still have an avid interest in anatomy, physiology and healing.
I have also had a life-long fascination with plants. I have been a gardener since my early 20s. (Which was quite a while ago!) I went back to school for a degree in environmental horticulture and landscape design in midlife. And I have always been interested in herbal remedies. No one else I know gives a hoot about these things and I wondered why they were so important to me, until I started doing some genealogy. I found out that my 4th great-grandmother was a midwife and what was called a "yarb woman" - yarb being an old pronunciation of the word "herb." She was the woman that folks in her area called on when a baby was ready to be born or someone was sick.

Perhaps my affinity for botanical medicine has been, in its own way, a sort of time traveler, passing through the genes, through the generations, from Grandma Maggie to me. 

I have been a writer, both professionally and as a blogger for many years. (My other blogs are Where I Am Now and Seattle Garden Ideas.) It is only natural for me to write about the plants found in the Outlander books, but these posts don't seem to fit the websites I already have. So it makes sense to create this separate blog and give these posts their own home. 

My intention for this blog is that it be a companion for readers of the Outlander series who also have an interest in plants and gardening. I know that when I see the name of a plant I am not familiar with or that I can't remember much about, I want to know more. Sometimes I wonder if that plant will grow in my part of the country. Or if it is related to a plant I think is similar. If the plant has a place in traditional medicine, I would like to know about that. I am also entertained by bits of folklore that surround these trees, shrubs and flowers. I don't plan to write only about plants with medicinal uses, although there will be quite a few of those I am sure. 

Is there a plant from the OUTLANDER series that you are curious about? Please feel free to suggest one that I can write about. It is really helpful if you can give me the name of the book and the chapter where you found it. 

Thank you for reading. I hope you find something of interest on these pages. 


  1. Yes, do you know anything about GALLBERRY, gallberry? Claire draink this as a tea in book 6, mention a few places including when she was sick, Jamie made a cup for her to calm her.

    1. I haven't been able to find any references to medicinal uses for this plant. It is a member of the Ilex, or holly, family. An it is native to the east coast of the United States. If I find more information, I will post it.

  2. I just found your blog and feel I have found a kindred spirit. I'm of Scottish decent and remember my grandmother McNeill using herbs and oils to address health issues. Our medical world has strayed too far from what is natural.
    The Outlander series made me feel as though I had come home. Having visited Inverness years ago and now watching the Scottish life so well portrayed has been lovely.
    I have been using herbs, tinctures and essential oils for years. I think it's my ancestral ties.

    I just recently started teaching others how to use natural medicines. I'm a teacher with a masters degree and love teaching and sharing my knowledge of plant therapy.

    Thank you for this lovely blog and the education.

    1. Thank you, Paula. So nice to have you here. One of the blessings of Outlander is that it has enabled people to find their "tribe" in ways no one imagined before. Happy New Year to you!


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