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Midsummer Men

The plants called Orpine or Live-long, one of the Sedum tribe. Stonecrop is another variety of the same species of plants. Orpine is the French word for stonecrop. Live-long, so called because no plant lives longer after it is cut. It will live for months if sprinkled once a week with a little water. Sedum means the plant sedens in rupibus (sitting or growing on stones). It is called midsummer men because it used to be set in pots or shells on midsummer eve, and hung up in the house to tell damsels whether their sweethearts were true or not. If the leaves bent to the right, it was a sign of fidelity; if to the left, the “true-love's heart was cold and faithless.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Midsummer Men from Infoplease:

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