Spotted Medick

(Medicago arabica) Calvary Clover is a name given to this plant (McClintock & Fitter). A German superstition, taken to America, said that Calvary Clover could only germinate if sown on Good Friday (M Baker. 1977). The red spots on the leaves also help in understanding the name. They are spots of Christ's blood that fell on them at Calvary. The shape of the leaves give rise to various 'heart' names -Heart Medick (Curtis), or Heart Clover (Britten & Holland), and so on, all too good for the expounders of the doctrine of signatures to miss. Coles says it is so called "not only because the leaf is triangular like the heart of a man, but also because each leafe doth contain the perfection (or image) of a heart, and that in its proper colour, viz., a flesh colour, it defendeth the heart against the noisome vapour of the spleen".

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