Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. [Wolverhampton] My friend who was younger than me (she still is, of course!) used to call irises [growing in her garden] bickers.  I have no idea why, or what bickers are? I know what bickering is, naturally, but why my childhood friend used to call irises bickers is beyond me!  I did ask her once when we were older, but she had no memory [Cradley, West Midlands, October 2014].

Any further records of, or comments on, the name ‘bickers’ would be much appreciated.

We are grateful to Elinor Robinson, who sent the following comment in June 2018:                                                                                                                               ‘I think one meaning of “bicker” is a kind of weapon, and that could be relevant here.  Jonathan Swift used “Bickerstaff” as a pen name.’

Image: bearded iris (Iris germanica), cultivated, Battersea Bridge Road, Battersea, London Borough of Wandsworth; March 2015.