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tansy (tănˈzē) [key], perennial herb ( Tanacetum vulgare ) of the family Asteraceae (aster family), native to Europe but naturalized in North America. It was long cultivated for its ornamental foliage and clusters of yellow, buttonlike flowers; it was often used in old-fashioned dishes, such as tansy cakes and puddings, which were eaten in the spring, especially at Easter time, either in memory of the bitter herbs of the Jewish Passover or as a sort of tonic after the Lenten season. Tansy tea was formerly a household medicine and is still used as an anthelmintic and in the treatment of external bruises and inflammations. Tansy is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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