Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. Beetroot wine was very popular against asthma, chilblains, earache, and, some say, snake bites. I knew a gypsy named Penfold who told me his people kept beetroot by them for snake bites, and adders of course are common hereabouts. He said gypsies planted theirs at night. In fact, though travellers, I was surprised to learn they would have a variety of ‘stewpot’ vegetables growing just inside wood edges in their ‘territory’ … as well as helping themselves en route [Barnstaple, Devon, May 1991].

Image: Balham Market, London Borough of Wandsworth; August 2014.