Dodder

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(Cuscuta epithymum) Surprisingly, there is virtually no folklore attached to dodder, in spite of the wealth of local names. The word itself is the plural of dodd, which means a bunch of threads, perfectly descriptive of the plant. It is parasitic, of course, and ascribed to the devil. Hence the local name, Devil's Threads, or Devil's Net, very apt. Even more expressive is Devil's Guts, recorded widely throughout England and Scotland (Grigson. 1955). A story from parts of France tells that the devil spun the dodder at night to destroy the clover; clover was created by God, and dodder was the devil's counter-plant.

Scald, or Scaldweed, were names given to it in Cambridgeshire (Grigson. 1955). In this context, scald means scab, or scabies, but it is not clear whether it was thought dodder caused the itch, or whether it relieved it. Perhaps, in the principles of homeopathic magic, both could apply.

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