Archive:Glossary of Words in Use in Cornwall
Margaret Ann Courtney, Thomas Quiller Couch, Glossary of Words in Use in Cornwall (Trübner & co.: n.p., 1880), p. 55, as found on Google Books.
WHITNEY, Viburnum Lantata, L. Dr. Prior, p. 253, has: "Whitten-Tree," a tree so-called from its white branches; in Berkshire, the wayfarer tree: but according to Gerarde (p. 1237), the water-elder (Viburnum Opulns, L.)." In Devonshire they have a saying, " As tough as a Whitney Stick," and farm lads always used to seek this wood for their rustic whips, &c. The wood is notably tough, which makes me think that the name may as likely be connected with withe as with white. This idea is confirmed by the fact that it is called Lithy-tree (Prior, p. 137), from A.S. li'S, pliant. (Cf. Prior, p. 255, for etymology of " Withy.")