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Buttercups

So called because they were once supposed to increase the butter of milk. No doubt those cows give the best milk that pasture in fields where buttercups abound, not because these flowers produce butter, but because they grow only on sound, dry, old pastures, which afford the best food. Miller, in his Gardener's Dictionary, says they were so called “under the notion that the yellow colour of butter is owing to these plants.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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