Spurge is a queer-looking plant. Its flowers barely stand out from its foliage, being small, green and yellow. This one I think is Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) also known, amusingly, as umbrella milkweed and madwoman's milk. The name Spurge comes from from the Middle English espurge, which means to purge. Its pale sap is poisonous and was discovered to have laxative qualities by the ancient physician Euphorbos, feted Roman-era medical expert. I wouldn’t recommend you take it, even when bunged-up, for it is toxins have been associated with cancers of the liver.

‘Purge’ seldom has a positive meaning. With the plant, it means little more than free bowel movements, purging the effects of constipation. In the Third Reich, however, it was a euphemism for the Final Solution, the extermination of European Jewry. In contemporary Hollywood, it refers to a franchise of films depicting state-sponsored mass murder and violence, legally perpetrated on the poor one night each year, to reduce social problems. In the religious world, it defines that most obnoxious of Roman doctrines- purgatory. This is the belief that we must each endure agonising flames ahead of entering heaven. If such a doctrine be true, Christ’s sacrifice was ineffective and pointless; truly, such theology imbibes madwoman’s milk, for

having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2