Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


0071.  [Aberdeen, 1980s] Making a ‘lady’ from fuchsia flowers – you remove some of the petals to make a skirt then some of the stamens so that you are left with two legs [Walthamstow, London, October 2015].

2.  A memory from my childhood [1990s]:  making flower fairies from fuchsia which filled the hedgerows around west Cork where I grew up.  My sister and I would trim the filaments down to just two to make two little legs with tiny shoes and then gather a small twig which we would push through the nectar-filled heart (torso) to make the arms [Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, April 2015].

3. P O’S (70+, of Rossfinch, Ballinahinch, Co. Tipperary) told me some of his childhood plant memories … Fuchsia is common around Rossfinch and as a child he sucked the nectar from the flowers and knew it by the name bleeding hearts.  (The fuchsia is nowadays used as a quality mark symbol – as a drawing of a flowering shoot – for various produce of southern Ireland, i.e. Cork, Kerry) [Clonlara, Co. Clare, June 2002].

2014-11-25 12.44.224. Fuchsia = tears of God [Cong, Co. Mayo, January 1992].

5. Honeysuckle = the fuchsia (grown as a hedge) – common name in Co. Antrim, Co. Down, at present time – the nectar is sucked by children [Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Co. Down, December 1991].

6. Fuchsia spp. – not to be taken into a house, as unlucky (Mrs Wilkinson, now deceased told me this, c. 1950) [Bromborough, Merseyside, November 1990].

Images: main, Watchet, Somerset, cultivated, March 2014; upper inset, drawing by Welwyn Garden City informant of a fuchsia fairy,  April 2015; middle inset, logo of the Fuchsia Appeal which raises money for homeless ex service people in Ireland, ‘the fuchsia was chosen as a symbol because it is widely grown throughout Ireland and is commonly known as Deora Dé or God’s tears in the west of Ireland’, Dublin April 2017; lower inset, cultivated, Trinity College, Dublin, November 2014.