Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

False oat grass

1. As a child growing up in Suffolk in the 1980s we used to take a flowering stem of grass and pull our fingers up the stem so all the seeds bunched together at the top. This would result in either a ‘lump’ of seeds, or a lump with a point in the middle. The game was to guess whether you would get a ‘candle’ (the point) or a ‘cake’ (the lump with no point).
It was a silly game, there was no point to it really, you would play it when walking somewhere. I suppose the species was probably false oat grass, or a meadow grass. I seem to remember different species would give different likelihoods of candle or cake, but we obviously didn’t know the species’ names [Colchester, Essex, March 2013].

Image: Grand Union Canal Paddington Branch, Perivale, London Borough of Ealing; July 2014.