Red Campion

(Silene dioica) An unlucky plant to pick (Tongue. 1965), one of the plants that bear the name Mother-die (Grigson. 1955), always an indication that children are advised never to pick them. To reinforce the injunction, it also has the name Devil's Flower (Britten & Holland). It is a Fairy Flower, too (Moore, Morrison & Goodwin), in the Isle of Man, another reason why it can never be picked (Garrad). But it is called Robin (another indication that it is a fairy flower) or some variant over most of England. Another reason for the ill-luck is an association with snakes - it is Blodyn neidi, snake flower, in Welsh - if you pick it you will be attacked by snakes (Vickery. 1985). Another Welsh name is Blodyn Taranan, thunder flower. Thunder and lightning will be the result if you gather it.

Squeeze the juice on corns, and they will come out; that is a Somerset remedy. And also rub it on a wart (Tongue. 1965). But that is the only record of medicinal uses. We can discount Gerard's claim that "the weight of two drams of the seed ... purgeth choler by the stoole, and it is good for them that are stung or bitten of any venomous beast".

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