Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. Recollections of plant-lore I have encountered over my lifetime – mainly in south Wales.  I am now almost 79 years old …  Fresh hay pressed on to a hot axe-head until a few drops of juice were released and dripped on to a ringworm was ‘a certain cure’, I was once told (in Radnorshire) [Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan, October 2000].

2. I remember the custom and great respect held when anyone was seriously ill in the village.  Hay and straw was strewn over the road near their house to deaden the noise of passersby, horses and carts, etc.                                           In recent years hay and straw is still placed on the floors of Pavenham church for Palm Sunday [Felmersham, Bedfordshire, April 1993].

3.  I was born in 1914.  This area was then pure farming ….                               It was unlucky to look at the back of a hay cart.                                                     Girls were ‘sweet hayed’ when the first hay was cut.  Their faces were rubbed with a bunch of hay [Plymouth, Devon, January 1993].

Image:  Animal Walk, Horniman Gardens, London Borough of Lewisham, January 2022.