Devils-Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis)

Believed to get its name because the Devil reputedly bit away part of the root to reduce it’s beneficial powers. Known as Fire Leaves, as it was used to test moisture in hay to prevent natural combustion, Blue kiss in Sussex and Bitin’ billy in Ireland. in Scotland it was known as Curly dodd and used to summon a brownie or imp to clean the house and the dungheap: “curl-doddy, do my biddin, soap my house and hool my midden”. Water steeped in it was used to draw out arrowheads and bathe wounds, after the bruised leaves had been applied to check the bleeding. A tea made from the dried leaves was used for coughs and fevers, and a decoction was applied to sores and dandruff. A remedy for curing any affliction involved infusing nine plants, including devils-bit, and boiling them in urine before drinking. Picking it was thought to summon the Devil to your bedside. it is the birthday flower for the 8th August

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