The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth may have used "Eye of Newt" and "Toe of Frog" in their cauldrons but in Indiana, we have "Devil's Claw."

What Was Really in The Witches' Cauldron?

What the witches of Macbeth were actually using in their recipe was far more benign than it may have initially sounded. In herbal folklore, many flowers, plants, and herbs had nicknames based on their appearances. "Eye of Newt" for example, is simply mustard seed and "Toe of Frog" is Ranunculus acris, most commonly known now as a buttercup, according to the University of Minnesota.

<p>Double, double toil and trouble;</div><div>Fire burn and caldron bubble.</p><div>Fillet of a fenny snake,</div><div>In the caldron boil and bake;</div><div>Eye of newt and toe of frog,</div><div>Wool of bat and tongue of dog,</div><div>Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,</div><div>Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,</div><div>For a charm of powerful trouble,</div><div>Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.</div><div> </div><div>Double, double toil and trouble;</div><div>Fire burn and caldron bubble.</div><div>Cool it with a baboon's blood,</div><div>Then the charm is firm and good. Macbeth, Shakespeare</div>
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Names Based on Appearances

With many plants, flowers, and herbs having been given names tied to their appearance and resemblance to various anatomical parts, it's no surprise that a plant named Proboscidea louisianica might be named something a little easier to remember - like a devil's Claw.

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Devil's Claw, Unicorn Plant, & Ram's Horn

As the name implies, Devil's Claw looks a bit like a hooked claw when its pods dry out, and open up to release its seeds. Some other folk names for Proboscidea louisianica include Unicorn Plant, and Ram's Horn - again a reference to the physical appearance of the plant.

One plant can produce up to 80 fruits.[10] The fruit is a dehiscent capsule up to 10 centimeters long with a long, narrow, curving beak. As the fruit dries and the flesh falls away, the hard beak splits into two horns.[3] The horns can be up to 30 centimeters long.[10] The fruit can contain black or white seeds; white-seeded plants are more common in cultivation. - iNaturalist [[/pullquotes]

Devil's Claw in Indiana

Devil's Claw, an annual that produces very pretty flowers, is native to Indiana, as well as almost all of the contingent 48 states, according to the USDA.

attachment-Devils Claw USDA

Is Devil's Claw Medicinal or Edible?

As with any plant, flower, or herb, you should always educate yourself before attempting to use them for either food or medicine., says that Devil's Claw can be eaten and can also be pickled. The dried fruit was used by indigenous peoples to make baskets and the seedpods could produce a black dye as well. There is no known medicinal value to the plants according to the site.

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Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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