Bird's-foot Trefoil


Bird's-foot trefoil is a rather attractive little plant I found growing on my saunters around the Ribble Valley. Its seed pods are said to resemble a bird’s claw, hence the name. An even less pleasant name is granny’s toenails, which is arguably the least attractive plant name I have ever heard. If bird’s-foot is unflattering, granny’s toenails is singularly off-putting. Yet we are not dealing with some evil triffid, but a rather delightful little wildflower.

We have often given the worst names to the best things. The term ‘puritan’ was a form of mockery, yet it stuck. My late uncle referred to Christians as ‘God-botherers’; the term used to grate, but the more I thought of it, the more I liked it. I bother about God and He certainly bothers about me; had my uncle bothered more, he might now be better off. At school, we members of the Christian union were called the God Squad. Yet again, it would be an honour to be a member of squadron of God’s special agents. Wesley and Whitefield were mocked at Oxford for being a part of the ‘Holy Club’, and they did alright in the end.

Let the world call you what it will: the value of your faith diminishes not a jot.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11-12