Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

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REMINDER: Two upcoming walks

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Friday 7 May:  Pavement prowl, exploring  pavement ‘weeds’ around Tulse Hill, London Borough of Lambeth, starting at 11 a.m.

Sunday 9 May: Tree Walk, Battersea Park, London Borough of Wandsworth, starting at 2.30 p.m.

For further details, and how to book, see the Events Page on this website.

Image: cabbage palm, Cordyline australis, Battersea Park, March 2021.

Plant-lore Archive: April 2021

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

April was an exceptionally productive month for the collection of material, with 54 items of information being received from 48 contributors.  It was particularly pleasing to receive a number of items via the website.  The Archive now contains a total of 8685 items of information from 2837 contributors.  Thank you everyone!

As Covid restrictions eased it became possible to start outdoor events, with plant walks being held each Friday.  Walks were  provided for Seedy Saturday at the Woodfield Pavilion, London Borough of Lambeth, and for Kinship in Nature, at Wandstead Quaker Meeting House, London Borough of Redbridge, and two one-to-one walks.  A Zoom talk on uses of woodland plants was contributed to the Festival of the Great North Wood.

Image:  silver birch, Betula pendula, Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, April 2021.

REMINDER: Spring Plant Hunt, 30 April 2021

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Although perhaps it’s rather late in the year for such an event, Roy Vickery will be leading a Spring Plant Hunt in Brockwell Park, London Borough of Lambeth (nearest station Herne Hill), on Friday 30 April, starting at 11 a.m.  For further details see the Events page of this website.

Report:  Five of us spent about 80 minutes wandering around the Park, and recording whatever wild plants we could find in flower, a total of 35 species.

In remembrance of Armenian Genocide, 1915-17

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |


British Legion poppy wreaths, rather anachronistically, placed at the base of the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, Westminster, and notice, featuring forget-me-nots, Myosotis sp., attached to the barrier around the Cenotaph, to commemorate the Armenian Genocide of 1915-17.  During this time the Ottomans massacred an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.  Over the years since 1975 24 April has become internationally recognised as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.


Photographed 23 April 2021.



Flowers for those who died of Covid-19

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |



Flowers placed at the base of the National Covid Memorial Wall, beside the River Thames, outside St Thomas’ Hospital and opposite the Houses of Parliament, London Borough of Lambeth.

Photographed 23 April 2021.



REMINDER: Events 23 and 24 April

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Two events next week:

Friday 23 April:  Pot luck, plant walk led by Roy Vickery, in Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth, starting at 11 a.m., for further details see the Events page on this website.

Report:  Only three people had booked for this walk, but all turned up, and enjoyed an interesting 90 minutes, in bright sunshine and under a clear blue sky, walking around the perimeter of this little-known park.

Satuday 24 April:  Seedy Saturday, at the Woodfield Pavilion, Streatham, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., finishing with a walk Woodfield’s Wild Wonders, led by Roy Vickery, starting at 1 p.m. and lasting for about 30 minutes; see Events page for details.

Report:  People brought along a variety of seeds and plants to swop, and also some excellent cakes which were enjoyed.  Approximately 10 people joined the  plant walk (a short stroll) and appeared to enjoy discussing the uses and folklore of some of the plants found beside the woodland strip at the edge of the site.

REMINDER: Two events next week

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Wednesday 14 April, at 6.30 p.m., Roy Vickery talks about Forgotten Rescources: Uses of Great North Wood Plants, part of the virtual Festival of the Great North Wood, organised by the London Wildlife Trust.

Report:  This free event was fully booked, but of the  150 who had booked only about 55 turned up.  Roy spoke for about 45 minutes, emphasising that it was the most common plants which featured most in folklore – the ‘folk’ did not seek out rarities, but used plants growing in local hedgerows and woodlands.  He demonstrated this by discussing the uses and folklore of such plants as brambles, Rubus spp., hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, and stinging nettle, Urtica dioica.  Lively discussion took place on chat, and during the question time.

Friday 16 April, at 11 a.m., Wonderful Weeds, walk led by Roy Vickery, Tooting Common, south London (nearest station Balham), a South London Botanical Institute event, see

Report:  Five, the maximum number permitted, booked for this event, but only four turned up, and spent a pleasant 90 minutes wandering around the Common discussing weeds and potential weeds.  These included the invasive garden form of yellow archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum, and evergreen oak Quercus ilex, which is also invasive and being evergreen shades out herbaceous plants  which try to grow under it.  The leader was particularly pleased to see wall-rue, Asplenium ruta-muraria, a fern not previously recorded on the Common (see image).

No Easter wreaths

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Smith Street, in Chelsea, London, has been regularly visited each year since 2014 to see the Christmas wreaths which decorate its front doors.  In 2020 approximately 36% of the doors had wreaths attached to them.  On 6 April 2021, two days after Easter Sunday, a visit was paid to see if any of the houses displayed Easter wreaths; none did so.

Church flowers, Easter 2021

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |


Flower decorations for Easter Sunday, at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Upper Norwood, London Borough of Croydon:  part of Easter garden, Pascal candle, and flower arrangement in the nave.  Unlike  many other churches it appears that St John’s does not ask parishioners for donations with which to buy Easter (Lilium longiflorum), or altar (Zantedeschia aethiopica) lilies in memory of dead friends and relatives at Easter.


Photographs taken 5 April 2021, the day after Easter Sunday.



REMINDER: Spring Plants walk, 9 April

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

The South London Botanical Institute’s Friday plant walks start again on Friday 9 April, with a walk in Wandsworth Cemetery, c. 5 minutes walk from Earlsfield station (c.15 minutes by train from London Waterloo), from 11 a.m.  For further details see the Events page on this website.

Report:  Five people, the maximum permitted at present, turned up and enjoyed an unexpectedly warm and sunny morning wandering around the Cemetery, examining early flowering plants, including three species of speedwell, common field-speedwell (Veronica persica), ivy-leaved speedwell (V. hederfolia) and wall speedwell (Veronica arvensis).

Image:  common field speedwell, Brompton Cemetery, London Borough of  Kensington and Chelsea, March 2021.

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