Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  The rumour that eating an apple pip would result in a tree growing in your stomach was definitely shouted about my primary school, Hurst Park School, East Molesey, Surrey, 1990-3 [e-mail, February 2017].

2.  Devon, 1990s.  Local gypsies rubbed apples on warts and fed to pigs.  This cured warts overnight [Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, September 2014].

3.  I remember dooking [bobbing] for apples and guising [at Halloween] in Scotland over 70 years ago [Blackpool, Lancashire, October 2012].

4. If the sun shines through the apple trees on Christmas Day, it will be a fine summer [Whitstable, Kent, January 2012].

5. My mothe116r who sadly died last year at the age of 88 … firmly believed that if the sun shone through the apple trees on Christmas Day there would be a good crop the following autumn. I can’t say that I believe this, but I do sometimes note if the sun shines on that day [Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffordshire, February 1998].

6. I’m 66 and used to live on Cornwall. At Hallowe’en young girls put an Alan apple under their pillows to dream of their future husband. It was a large yellow apple [Alicante, Spain, December 1991].

7. According to my 86-year-old aunt … an apple was placed in a room where there was small pox, as the apple went mouldy the small pox was believed to be transferred from the patient to it [Histon, Cambridgeshire, January 1989].

8. Thoroughly rotten apples were threaded on to chilblained toes to cool the burning and itching [Lisburn, Co. Antrim, March 1986].

9. They used to keep the apples from one year so that the last of them could be made into a pie eaten at the end of sheep-shearing time the following year [Thorncombe, Dorset, autumn 1974].

Images: main, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, September 2014; inset, cultivated, Tisbury, Wiltshire, May 2015.