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Tansy

The name derives from the Greek for 'immortal' perhaps because the flowers last so long, There are two very differing views for this plant as it is thought that (1) when eaten in a salad by women that conception possibilities would be enhanced, or (2) eating the plant would encourage a miscarriage. It is a hardy perennial with aromatic leaves which would explain why Sussex people believed that placing leaves in the shoe would prevent ague. It has clusters of yellow flowers and is commonly known as 'buttons'. 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. Horses and goats will not eat it, but sheep and cows are more than happy to tuck in. Most of the recipes for this plant refer back to Elizabethan times but it is now mainly used for decorative purposes.