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Aphanes arvensis

Parsley Piert is a tiny little plant. In fact, it is so inconspicuous that it can easily be overlooked. Its greyish-green appearance and its habit of growing among stones does not increase its visibility. The tiny leaves look a little bit like those of Parsley and it is generally believed that this similarity is what gave the plant its name, even though regular Parsley and Parley Piert are not even remotely related. However, the truth is that Parsley Piert is a corruption of the French name of this plant: 'perce pierre' - which means 'stone piercer' and alludes to its growing habit. The scientific name is also confusing. Many sources list its synonym 'Alchemilla arvensis' although its proper botanical name is 'Aphanes arvensis', which roughly translates as 'the practically invisible thing that grows in the fields' (Aphanes = greek 'inconspicuous').

In spite of its inconspicuous nature Parsley Piert has enjoyed centuries of popularity as a healing plant. Its growing habit of seemingly 'breaking through stones' was taken as a signature for its use as a kidney herb that should be particularly helpful for breaking up stones in the urinary system. Modern herbalists make less use of it, but it continues to be a popular folk remedy for this condition. Culpeper recommends it for clearing the urinary passages and kidneys from all concretions and also finds it helpful in the treatment of jaundice.

Parsley Piert signifies strength in adversity. It can be used in incense blends for courage and resilience, to help one stand ones ground. Where there is a will there is a way.