Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. I was taught recognise and gather mushrooms as a toddler in Wales with my father. There was a very prolific field near Dad’s cottage where we stayed on holiday. It was a special occasion for the village at Tan Y Fron [Clywd]. On one occasion we had 20 people all piled into a Vauxhall Victor car to get to the mushroom field. That week we feasted on field mushrooms and freshly caught trout from the local stream [Childwall, Liverpool, April 2013].

2. Mushrooms grow only when the moon is waxing and only in fields frequented by male animals [Wormshill, Kent, May 2003].

3.  While cooking mushrooms the other day I remembered gathering field mushrooms as a child in Derbyshire.  I still remember the excitement of rising early to walk half a mile to the field where they grew and eating the fried mushrooms with our bacon and egg for breakfast.  Always, without fail, my mother placed a silver sixpence in the pan with the mushrooms.  If we had accidentally gathered a poisonous fungus the sixpence would turn black!  It never did! [Broadstairs, Kent, September 1996].

Image: collected on Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth; August 2014.