One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A purple-flowered Eurasian stonecrop.
Sedum telephium, family Crassulaceae
- ‘In England and Wales, St John's wort was suspended over doorways along with green birch, long fennel, orpine and white lilies, to guard against intruding malevolent entities.’
- ‘Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John's wort, orpine, and white lilies.’
- ‘The Crassulaceae, or orpine family, is a family of dicotyledons.’
Middle English: from Old French orpine, probably an alteration of orpiment, originally applied to a yellow-flowered sedum.
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