In January 21st, 2023, I first saw Minecraft’s Block of the Month: Nether Wart article on my Nintendo Switch.
The Nether wart is crimson fungus and it doesn’t taste very nice.
In the real world, names for plants that end in a -wart or -wort suffix tend to be very old, and used primarily for herbs and plants with medicinal uses. The “wort” suffix originally derives from the Old English “wyrt”, and it can be traced back even further to the ancient Germanic word “wurtiz” – which is also where the modern German word for root, “wurzel”, comes from.
The name of each plant is usually related to the part of the body or illness that the plant was supposed to treat. Some examples include Lungwort, Throatwort, Navelwort, Bloodwort, Bruisewort, Cancerwort, Bollockwort, and Feverwort. There’s even a Wartwort.
However, there are plenty of other -wort plants that don’t have anything to do with the body. Glasswort, Hillwort, Laserwort, Pennywort, Moonwort and – of course – Hogwort. Presumably these names were granted after “wort” came to be understood as simply “plant”, rather than treating a specific condition.