Answer to Fun with Words No. 09
Oh, how I wish the correct definition of “stinkwort” were “a person who constantly complains that everything stinks,” but alas, it is not.
The correct definition is “a smelly European herb.” I insist, however, that there’s something admirable in referring to a constant complainer as a smelly European herb. Especially when the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (Hollister Office) has this to say about the plant:
“Warning! Touching stinkwort can cause dermatitis, itchy skin, or blistering. Grazers that eat this plant can produce tainted milk or meat. When the seeds are ingested by grazing animals they can cause inflammation of the small intestine, and can lead to pulpy kidney disease or sudden death.”