I keep using the terms Jesse Tree or Tree of Jesse but that is a relatively recent term for the pictorial design of the ancestors of Jesus. The term “Jesse Tree” seems to date from the 18th century. The earlier term is Stirps Jesse from Stirps Jesse virgam produxit virgaque florem et super hunc florem requiescit spiritus almus, a response chanted during the Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on September 8. (Translation: The Tree brought forth a twig and the twig a flower that rests on nourishing spirit.) This tied together the idea of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the symbolic rod of Jesse, and Jesus, her son, as the flower. Note the play upon virgo (virgin) and virga (rod or stem).
Another version of the Stirps Jesse:
This trope is attributed to Bishop Fulbert of Chartres (Bishop from1006-1029). The trope was added to Benedicamus Domino (Let us bless the Lord). YouTube has several chanted versions of these lines. Just search “Stirps Jesse.” I will come back to Bishop Fulbert who championed the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and was important in the development of Mariology during the Middle Ages.
Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere, Chartres Cathedral
Delaport Window #14. dated to abt. 1150. Mostly original except for face of the Virgin.
Photo credit: Holly Hayes