Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


Thanks to Alison Moss of Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, for the following interesting note:

2014-05-29 14.47.44I assume that the use of ‘flourish’ in association with flowers was some obscure family thing.  I was always interested in plants and was encouraged in this by my Mother.  Even before I went to primary school in Clarkstown I would be taken on walks, and, indeed, go independently on local rural walks.  I used to pick flowers to take home and this is where I was told never to bring ‘flourish’ into the house because it was very unlucky.  ‘Flourish’ was never clearly defined, but I associate it with flowers like elder [Sambucus nigra] and meadowsweet [Filipendula ulmaria] – common factor? – white inflorescences, strong smell.  I am not sure.

My mother was born in 1911, in Glasgow.  I was told that a branch of the family ran a herbalist shop on London Road, and I know there was a strong family interest in the countryside and plants.  My Mother’s Granny being a strong influence on her in this respect and very superstitious.  My mother always had flowers in vases in the house.  My Dad grew sweet peas [Lathyrus odoratus] and carnation [Dianthus caryophyllus], etc., for this purpose – none of these were ‘flourish’!

It’s funny how superstitions stick … I certainly wouldn’t have ‘flourish’ in the house.

Further records and any comments greatly appreciated; please send them to

Image:  the compiler with elder, Hastings, East Sussex, May 2014; © Carlos Bruzon.

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