In Greek "Sideritis" can be literally translated as "he who is or has the iron". The plant was known to ancient Greeks, specifically Dioscorides and Theophrastus. Although Dioscorides describes three species, only one (probably S. scordioides) is thought to relate to Sideritis. In ancient times Sideritis was a generic reference for plants capable of healing wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. However others hold that the name stems from the shape of the sepal which resembles the tip of a spear.