Welcome-home-husband-no matter-how-drunk-you-be is the kind of (apparently) common plant name that not only invites further research but insists on it.
Just as ignorant of the houseleek noted here, I flipped pages to the h’s and was only slightly more enlightened by the description of “1. a crassulaceous herb, sempervivum tectorum, with pink flowers and thick, succulent leaves, found growing on the roofs and walls of houses.” (“2. any plant of the genus sempervivum.”)
The Latin sempervivum tectorum means “everliving on house roofs” from semper (always)+ vivum (alive) and tectorum (of house roofs).
Next stop: Google images…
Welcome home hubby is not an unfamiliar looking succulent and I’m sure we have these in Tasmania.
It is native to Europe (France, Italy, Greece) but in England the name has also been used to refer to the UK’s biting stonecrop. The yellow flowered stonecrop actually has its own version of this name — welcome home husband though never so drunk. I found cases of each used interchangeably for the other, and there are name variations of both.
Traditionally thought to protect against lightning in thunderstorms, evil, and your everyday bad luck, the common houseleek has a whole swathe of other common names in English, not shared with stonecrop, including:
devil’s beard earwort
St. George’s Beard
St. Patrick’s cabbage
My favourite is thunderplant.
But why the welcome-home-hubby name?
One explanation from Dorset, England: Historically the presence of houseleeks, and their consumption as a spice added to meat, was thought to heighten male virility.
The roots of this belief may have grown from the Romans’ fondness for the plant, as one of their love medicines.
A second thought is that houseleeks require little maintenance and, similarly, some very drunk husbands require little attention, if any, on arriving home. Perhaps both meant that wives benefited from some extra time for themselves.
I wish you all succulents on your roof & time for yourself and loved ones in 2018!