One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several stonecrops (genus Sedum); especially biting stonecrop, S. acre, and reflexed stonecrop, S. reflexum.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Elyot (c1490–1546), humanist and diplomat. From prick + madam, apparently with reference to the astringent taste of the stonecrop's leaves. Apparently related to Middle French, French (now regional) trique-madame stonecrop, although the exact nature of the relationship is unclear; the French word is apparently an unexplained variant of tripe-madame.
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