Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Marsh marigold

1.  Marsh marigolds were known as mayblobs on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border (River Dove) [e-mail, April 2017].

2.  Jessica Smith [aged 99] was brought up in Woodmill, Staffordshire, near Yoxall, she called marsh marigolds molly blobs [Lichfield, Staffordshire, April 2015].

3.  Locally called kingcups and considered unlucky. I have wondered since if this was due to their habitat as undoubtedly one always acquired very muddy feet getting to pick them. I could never resist them however, and stuffed them into jars to grace my playhouse. Washed my feet off with a quick paddle in the stream and hoped no one would notice! [Mardu, Shropshire, October 2004].

4. In Shropshire the mayflower was the marsh marigold. My aunt’s brother (Morton R. Evans, 1875-1970) for some years after World War II used to bring the flower into the house on the first day of May [Bristol, January 1999].

5. Kingcup … sometimes called water gowan in Scotland [Gullane, East Lothian, February 1997].

6. The May flowers (yellow) that grow in the wet marshes brought good luck if strewn at door jambs on May morning [Foxford, Co. Mayo, May 1993].

7. As a 4-year-old in Portaferry, Co. Down (1910!), I remember seeing cottage roofs strewn with ‘May’ on the appropriate day – but it was not hawthorn, but marsh marigold (Caltha palustris); in my boyhood in my present area it was called water bubbles [Charlbury, Oxfordshire, January 1991].

Images: main, South West Coast Path between Bude and Boscastle, Cornwall, March 2014; inset Headstone Manor Park, London Borough of Harrow, October 2022.