Traditionally the juice of the leaves was extracted to flavour puddings and cakes for Easter. During Lent the young leaves were eaten to sweeten body odours caused by the limited food intake. It has a hot, bitter though not unpleasant taste.
‘On Easter Sunday be the Pudding seen
To which the Tansy lends her sober green.’
Reputedly used to staunch Christ's wounds at Calvary it was never gathered without making the sign of the Cross first. Roman soldiers carried this perennial with them into battle for protection. Pale lilac flowers can be seen on sparsely-leafed upright stems