Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


2014-05-02 14.44.011. [London suburbs, early 1980s] when I was a child we didn’t talk as we didn’t talk as we passed a monkey puzzle, because it’s bad luck [e-mail, February 2020].

2. In the 1930s I well remember the massive monkey-puzzle tree which stood in Peterborough Recreation Park. As we children walked beneath its mis-shapen boughs we believed that penalties worse than death would befall us if we spoke so much as one word! I wonder if our hands clamped over our mouths had any connection with the monkey’s Speak no Evil? [Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, June 1981].

3. [Middlesex] Monkey-puzzle trees are unlucky, therefore it is wisest to remain silent whilst walking under them [Natural History Museum, London, October 1979].

Images: main, planted, Borough Gardens, Dorchester, Dorset, April 2014; inset, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, May 2014.