One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The pellitory of Spain, Anacyclus pyrethrum, which was supposed to have a root shaped like a foot.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Gerard (c1545–1612), herbalist. From the genitive of Alexander + foot, after Middle French pied d'Alexandre; so called because it was supposed to have a root shaped like a foot, although the reason for the allusion to Alexander (presumably Alexander the Great) is unclear.
Alexander's Foot/ˌalɪɡˈzɑːndəz ˌfʊt//ˌalɪɡˈzandəz ˌfʊt/
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