Nature Journal 6: Buttercups and Herb Robert

Buttercups and Herb Robert Norfolk June 2016
“The common Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) bears among rustics in the midland counties the vulgar name of “Crazy,” for which, until lately, I could never account; but it would appear that this meadow plant is considered an “insane herb” by country people, for I heard lately, from a trustworthy source, that the smell of the flowers was considered to produce madness. “Throw those nasty flowers away,” said a country woman to some children, who had gathered their handful of buttercups, “for the smell of them will make you mad.” This must be the origin of the term “crazy” applied to the plant, but biting as the leaf is when chewed, what should have given an ill-reputation to the golden flowers@ We are reminded of the name Drunkard, as applied by the Devonshire lads and lasses to the Horse Buttercups or Bull’s eyes, as Marsh Marigolds are called in the West of England. Let no one after this despise our common flowers, or think lightly of their vulgar names, for much treasure may sometimes be found hidden under a rough expression or name.”  Chapter X, Superstitions about Flowers; Flowers & Flower Lore; Revd Hilderic Friend.

Herb Robert …

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