This plant received much notoriety during the time of Robert's Plague, when it was believed to have effected many cures. It has been called the "holy herb of Robert." Just where it received the name of Robert is an open question. Some say that it was named after St. Robert, a Benedictine monk, while others hold that it was named after Robert, Duke of Normandy. When bruised it emits a disagreeable odour, and its juice has an astringent and bitterish taste. As a medicine it is used in cases of intermittent fever, jaundice and various other ailments. It is also used externally for relieving swellings, and is employed as a gargle in throat affections. The weak, leafy, slender stalk branches extensively, and grows from six to eighteen inches high. Because it is stained with crimson, the Scotch Highlanders call it Red Shanks. The thin leaves are usually set in pairs, on long, slender stems. They are strongly scented, and are rather ornamental, being cleft into three or five divisions, with their margins deeply cut and notched into fine lobes or teeth. They are often stained with red. The little, short-stemmed flowers are usually paired, and are somewhat bell-shaped with their five petals widely spread. They are red purple in colour, and have ten coloured stamens and a pink pistil. The hairy green calyx has five parts, and the seed pod has a long, slender beak. The pod has a peculiar habit of bursting suddenly open and flipping the seeds sharply in every direction. Herb Robert blossoms from May to October in moist, rocky woods and shaded ravines, from Canada to Pennsylvania, and Missouri.