Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

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Memorial flowers in Streatham

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Flowers placed at the junction of Emmanuel Road with Rastell Avenue, Streatham, London Borough of Lambeth, 6 April 2020.

Apparently  some years a young man had a heart attack nearby, and each year on the anniversary of  his death his his father and others place flowers here.  On the evening of Saturday 4 April: ‘there was a group of people  – attempting to socially isolate – at sides of the road, and laying fresh flowers one by one’.

Palm Sunday 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Due to coronavirus there were no public celebrations on Palm Sunday 2020.

However, the Catholic Church of the English Martyrs, Streatham, in the London Borough of Lambeth had small fronds of palm attached to its railings.

Photographed 6 April 2020, the day after Palm Sunday.

Reminder to users

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

While it is a pleasure to make the information on this website available to all, it would be appreciated if users could endeavour to contribute information to it so that we can increase our knowledge of plant folklore, who did or knew what where and when.

It would be particularly useful to hear of twenty-first century beliefs and practices, and receive information from outside Britain and Ireland.

We look foward to hearing from you and receiving your comments or contributions.

Thanks to Maureen Waldorf for her memories  from Merioneth and Montgomeryshire in the early 1960s.

Cherry blossom and kamikaze pilots

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

According to a report in The Times of 27 March 2020, in Japan cherry [Prunus cv.] blossom being short-lived has always been a symbol of the transience of youth and beauty. And:  ‘during the Second World War, they were used by Japan’s militarist leaders to beautify the deaths of young soldiers, including kamikaze pilots’.  Cherry blossoms were painted on the pilots’ planes and they were ‘seen off by young girls waving cherry branches’.

Image: planted Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, April 2020.

Plant-lore Archive: March 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

March started well with people attending a sold-out wildflower event in West Norwood Cemetery, London Borough of Lambeth, contributing a number of interesting items to the Archive, then as coronavirus took hold everything inevitably slowed down, but information continued to trickle in.  17 items of information were received from 15 contributors, bringing the total to 8189 items of information from 2540 contributors.

All events planned for April have all been cancelled; please consult the Events page on this website for further information.

Two minor publications were produced:

Cemetery plants:  hogweed  (Heracleum sphondylium), Friends of Brompton Cemetery Magazine 65: 12-13.

Review of Death in the Garden – Poisonous Plants and their Use throughout History by Michael Brown, Folklore 131: 98.

Image:  National Police Memorial, St James’s Park, London, 1 March 2020.

Remembering PC Palmer

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |


Flowers placed beside the memorial to Police Constable Keith Palmer, outside the Houses of Parliament, London, on 22 March 2020, the third anniversary of his death:

‘The flowers are placed on behalf of all Londoners in memory of P.C. Keith Plamer who was killed near this spot in an act of terrorism …’


Mothering Sunday 2020 – 2

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Due to coronavirus Mothering Sunday, on 22 March, 2020 was a very restrained affair.  People were discouraged from visiting there families, and very few people were seen buying or carrying bunches of flowers.

Image:  flower stall outside Stockwell tube station, London Borough of Lambeth, 22 March 2020.

St Patrick’s Day, London 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |



Poster, incorporating shamrocks, advertising St Patrick’s Day at The Hand in Hand pub, New Park Road, Brixton, London, 17 March 2020.





Mothering Sunday, 2020 – 1

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |


Poster on the door of All Saints’ Church, Carshalton, London Borough of Sutton, 16 March 2020, advertising Mothering Sunday mass ‘with distribution of Mothering Sunday posies’.

Due to coronavirus all church services were banned on 22 March, so presumably the advertised event did not take place.

Updated 22 March 2020.


Shamrock 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |



Shamrock (Trifolium dubium) on sale at the Floral Hall florists, West Norwood, London Borough of Lambeth, 14 March 2020.





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