Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

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Erigeron Stallone

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

An earlier post on the website enquired about local names for Mexican fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus.  This produced seven responses.  A further name is Erigeron Stallone, under which name plants produced by the Hairy Plant Pot Company were on sale at English Heritage’s Kenwood House, Hampstead, London Borough of Camden, on 5 August 2020.

Since the plants on sale appeared identical to E. karvinskianus, it is unknown why they were given this name.

Community mask trees

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Syebvonne Nguyen has produced over 5,000 face masks, which she initially distributed free to key-workers and people who could not afford to buy them.  Others have been made available from four ‘Community Mask Trees’, where the masks are hung on front garden hedges or fences, and members of the public are invited to help themselves to then, for a suggested £5 donation.

Image:  community mask tree, Stroud Road, Wimbledon, London Borough of Merton, 2 August 2020.

REMINDER – Urban Botany, 7 August 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Roy Vickery will be leading a walk discussing the plants in Streatham Cemetery, Garratt Lane, SW17 (in Tooting, nearest tube station Tooting Broadway, not Streatham) on Friday 7 August, starting at 11 a.m. and continuing for about an hour.  Booking essential – http://www.slbi.org.uk/events/

Report: Five people had booked, and despite the sweltering heat all turned up and spent about 90 minutes wandering around a small part of the Cemetery.  As dry conditions meant that few wildflowers were in good shape, we concentrated on trees, the most interesting of which were some fine Japanese pagoda, Styphnolobium japonicum, trees, in full bloom, and buzzing with honey bees.

Plant-lore Archive: July 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Covid-19 again restricted activities, and although weekly plant walks were organised on the behalf of the South London Botanical Institute – http://www.slbi.org.uk/events/ , government regulations restricted attendance to five participants.

Material continued to be gleaned via social media, with 37 items of information coming from 34 contributors, bringing the totals to 8416 items of information from 2719 contributors.  The lack of information receieved via the P-LA website continues to be disappointing.

After contributing 110 daily plant posts to the Friends of Tooting Common Facebook it was decided to reduce these to weekly posts.  It appears that the daily posts were appreciated.  As some 650 species have been recorded from the Common, there are more than sufficient to keep weekly posts going for many years.  Posts continue to be contributed to the South London Botanical Institute Facebook, but not on a regular, daily, basis.

Image:  greater knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa, Old Sarum, Wiltishire, July 2020.

REMINDER: Tree walk, 31 July

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

On 31 July 2020 Roy Vickery will be leading a walk discussing those growing in Streatham Park, London Borough of Wandsworth, starting at 11 a.m. and cocntinuing for about an hour.  For further details, and to book, see  http://www.slbi.org.uk/events/ 

Report:  This event was fully booked, so five people, the maximum allowed under the government’s Covid-19 regulations, spent about 90 minutes walking around the area, discussing the trees growing there, and gratefully enjoying their shade.  Species seen included cedar-of-Lebanon (Cedrus libani), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), and the remains of Dr Johnson’s mulberry (Morus nigra) tree.

Image: Dr Johnson’s mulberry tree; see elsewhere on this website for further details.

Tree walk, 19 July – ERROR!

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Error:  The Sunday 19 July walk will examine plants on the Roupell Park estate, Streatham Hill, London Borough of Lambeth, starting at 2 p.m. at the entrance to the Quaker Meeting House in Redlands Way.  The Streatham Park tree walk will take place on Friday 31 July, starting at 11 a.m.

Roy Vickery will be leading a tree walk around Streatham Park, London Borough of Wandsworth, on Sunday 19 July, starting at 2.00 p.m. and lasting for approximately an hour.  This is one of a series of walks organised by the South London Botanical Institute, see http://www.slbi.org.uk/events/ or contact roy@plant-lore.com  Places limited in accordance with goverment guidelines.

Pearly gates

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two more pearly-gates tributes decorating graves, the first, of artificial flowers, on a recent grave in Camberwell New Cemetery, and the second, of fresh flowers, on a burial in Camberwell Old Cemetery, both London Borough of Soutwark, 9 July 2020.

Willow – symbol of mourning

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Detail of headstone in memory of Sarah Headding, ‘who departed this life 1 February 1837, aged 28 years’, in St Paul’s churchyard, Clapham, London Borough of Lambeth.  It is assumed that the tree is a willow, the association of which with grief appears to have originated in Psalm 137: ‘By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.  There on the willow trees we hung up our harps …’

Rather strangely such memorials usually depict a female mourner, rather than the widower.

Plant-lore Archive: June 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Once again Covid-19 restricted activities, so it was impossible to provide any walks or talks.  However, a steady stream of information – 105 items from 103 contributors – flowed in via social media.  This brings to total to 8379 contributions from 2694 informants.  Thank you everyone!

Daily plant blogs have continued to be prepared for the Friends of Tooting Common and the South London Botanical Institute Facebook pages.

Image: ‘Pearly gates’ decorating a grave in Streatham Park Cemetery, London Borough of Lambeth, June 2020.  This floral tribute design has remained popular for over 100 years.  The one shown here is a ‘permanent’ one composed of artificial flowers, but there were also at least two others, made of fresh flowers, placed on fresh interments.

Japanese knotweed stabilises embankments?

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Early in June 2020 Japanese knotweed,  Reynoutria (formerly Fallopiajaponica, was discussed on the Friends of Tooting Common Facebook page.  One contribution, from an estate-agent, enquired:

‘Was it not introduced on railway embankments to help strengthen them?’

Although Japanese knotweed is often abundant on railway embankments, and, indeed, elsewhere beside railways, the idea that it was deliberately planted in such places is a new one.  Any comments appreciated.

Image: Japanese knotweed emerging from an extensive bramble, Rubus fruticosus, patch on Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, June 2020.

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