Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cockle, an interesting name commonly applied to the caryophyllaceous cornfield weed Agrostemma Githago. In the Saxon version of St. Matthew's Gospel it occurs as "coccel," and in the Douai version as "cockle," where the Authorised Version has "tares." The word, which is also used by Chaucer and Spenser, does not occur in cognate Teutonic dialects; but there is a Gaelic form "cogall," and an etymological connection has been suggested with the British word "coch," red, in allusion to the pretty rose-red flower. De Candolle, however, considers the plant to have been unknown to the ancients in southern or western Europe, and, pointing out its abundantly spontaneous growth in Northern Russia and the name in Russian "kukael," and in Polish "kakol" as the source of the modern Greek "kokkole," suggests a Slav origin for both plant and name. On these grounds its possible accidental introduction in the earliest days of our Russian commerce, under Alfred, has been suggested.