Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Sweet violet

1. I have used violet leaves for extracting thorns and bad* from tender areas. The back of the leaves for drawing and the front for healing. I put five leaves on top of each other with a plaster to hold them. They are gentle and clean the area with no pain.
* What I mean by ‘bad’ is a wound that has become septic, or infected, or inflamed [Llanellen, Monmouthshire, October 2013].

2. I was born in 1914. This area was then pure farming. Occasionally we would eat violet seeds – not the seed pod – when they were white [Plymouth, Devon, January 1993].

3. Violets (Viola odorata) – to be picked on Mothering Sunday. (We had a special place where the rarer white, and purplish red violets grew). Kent/Sussex, 1920/30s [Farnham, Surrey, December 1985].

4. Violets – will bring fleas or vermin into house [Langtoft, Humberside, March 1985].

5. One violet is unlucky, but a bunch of violets is not. Another ‘Granny’ story, but there seems to be no logic about it.
Granny was raised in East Anglia [Towcester, Northamptonshire, August 1982].

Image: Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth; March 2014.