Motherofthousands

(Saxifraga sarmentosa) This plant propagates itself by sending out trailing runners, and that is the significance of the common name. Even more graphic is the name Hen-and-chickens, giving the impression of a mother plant with children around her. That name is given to a number of other plants (see Watts. 2000), and the STRAWBERRY is a good example of this kind of reproduction. That is why the saxifrage is called Strawberry Geranium, or Strawberry Begonia in some areas. A rather more mystical name given to this plant, still referring to the runners, is Thread-of-life, from Northamptonshire (Britten & Holland), and these threads also account for a number of "wandering" names, like Creeping, Wandering, or Roving, Sailor, the source of a belief that this ia an unlucky plant, for an accident to the plant would ensure a mishap to any relative who is a sailor (Folk-lore. vol 37; 1926 365-6).

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