Here’s something slightly linguistic.  Siganus Sutor has a post about a plant in Mauritius, called Liane batatran.

Ipomoea_pes-caprae, (from Wiki Creative Commons)

Ipomoea_pes-caprae, (from Wiki Creative Commons)

It’s a vine that most of us would recognise as a kind of convolvulus, or bindweed; something some people try unsuccessfully to eradicate from their gardens.  The flower I’m used to is white (or  blue-and-white when it’s called Morning Glory).  It’s hard to get rid of.  On the other hand it is really beautiful; in England it brightens up the embankments of railway lines.  I think those people who acquire it free ought to resign themselves to their good fortune.

Anyway, Siganus says in part:

Liane grows on sandy shores with leaves typically shaped in the form of a goat’s foot, from which it derives its scientific name, Ipomoea pes-caprae, or Ipomoea goat’s foot.  It is found sometimes on sandy islands or sandbars, where it’s the only vegetation. It is part of the same family as the sweet potato. (The flowers are very similar.)

He goes on to talk about its potato connection (and, below, he points us to this very interesting linguistic thread about potatoes), but it occurred to me that in English we have colt’s foot, which you can apparently also call Ass’s foot, Bull’s foot,  Foal’s foot and Horse Foot.  Whatever — they’re all feet.  In Scandinavia it’s also called colt’s or horse’s foot — Norwegians say horse, so it’s hestehov here.  Coltsfoot looks like a small bunch of largish dandelions; it flowers in early spring, but then after the flowers are long gone it develops ENORMOUS LEAVES that look like they’re going to eat you up, so many people consider it a weed.  I, of course, quite like it.

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