When I was a schoolboy there was a wild plant that mothers told the children not to pick! Perhaps that is why, for some strange reason, children referred to the plant as "Mother Die!".
The plant grows all over England (I found out in later years that it grows all over Europe and the USA!) and is a pretty plant.
It grows with many "stems", like a small bush, and has hundreds of tiny white flowers. The smell is very sweet; very "scented".
Anyway, children were told to avoid it. But then, we were told to avoid all plants except Buttercups,Daisies, and Dandelions! Even Dandelions were a bit suspect, and were known as "pee-the-beds!"
When I was about 12, on a visit to the village, I pointed out the plant to my witch teacher, and called it Mother Die.
She laughed, and said,
"Oh,no! It doesn't kill! It cures!".
Then she told me all about this wonderful herb. How witches had used it to cure all kinds of illnesses.How they would mix the oil from the root with licorice to cure coughs and colds. How the plant had been used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans. And by witches for thousands of years.
She told me how the flowers could make perfume; and that the root had great healing powers,even though it smelled like very strong cheese!
She told me that the plant had been used for many illnesses, from headaches to "the falling sickness". (Epilepsy
I said that we had been told it was poisonous! She said. "All medicines are poisonous if you don't know how to use them!"
Then she told me the real name of the plant was not Mother Die! It was Valerian. And it was one of the great "cure alls" for many thousands of years. And is still used in modern medicine today!
So when you see that wild herb, with its pretty white flowers, give thanks to Mother Nature for providing us with one of the great healers!