(Jatropha curcas) or BARBADOS NUT, as it is often called, is a drastic, and dangerous, purgative, often planted round houses in Haiti to keep out evil spirits. It is the Voodoo god Legba's plant (F Huxley). In Jamaica, a physic nut used often to be buried in a field, to keep a neighbour's envious (and therefore evil) eye away from a good field crop. Horse-eye Bean (Dolichos ensiformis) would be planted at the top and bottom of the field, too. (Beckwith. 1929). Also from Jamaica, if you go to a Physic Nut tree at 12 o'clock on Good Friday morning, and stick a penknife in it, the juice that comes out will be blood (Beckwith. 1929).
Phytolacca decandra > POKE-ROOT
PICKPOCKET, or Pickpurse and their like, are names given either because the plant so named flourishes in unproductive land (in the profit sense), e.g., plants like CORN SPURREY (Spergula arvensis),or because it is such a rampant weed as to damage the farmer's chance of profit. Cf similar names, like Beggarweed, Poverty, etc., SHEPHERD'S PURSE, another plant that bears this name (O Suilleabhain), grows in similar habitats. There is a rhyme from Northamptonshire:
Pickpocket, penny nail.
Put the rogue in jail (A E Baker).
Pickpocket-to-London is an elaboration of the name, from Yorkshire:
Pick-pocket to London,
You'll never go to London (Grigson. 1955).
A Scottish equivalent is Rifle-the-ladies'-purse.
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