Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Pignut

2014-05-22 14.11.191.  In the 1940s we would use a penknife to dig up what we called cat nuts – to eat.  In the local park [Rothwell Park, now part of Leeds] we would seek a small white flower, dig down a few inches to find a small whitish ‘nut’.  It was crisp and pleasant to eat [e-mail, August 2017].

2. I live in a village on the outskirts of Rochdale and here pignut is called harenut with the associated tubers being harenuts.  I still dig up an odd one every few years for old times sake, and a couple of evenings ago found my biggest ever [Milnrow, Lancashire, May 2017].

3.  Dig up pignuts to find the nutty root [Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, August 2004].

4. Wild plants gathered for food … earth nuts, boiled [Wormshill, Kent, May 2003].

5. I was born in 1926, so my childhood extended from that date until about 1940. I spent my childhood in a village in mid Oxfordshire. The following are some of the things we did as children:
Eating pignuts. These were the swollen roots of a small umbelliferae plant growing in meadowland. They were about as big as a small hazel nut and tasted similar [Letchworth, Hertfordshire, May 2001].

6.   [c. 1948] As children, we dug up pignuts (Conopodium majus), which were held to be very nutritious [Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffordshire, February 1998].

7. Pignut: We used to dig the roots in the First World War and eat the noodles at the end of the root!! [Didcot, Oxfordshire, February 1991].

Images:  main, South West Coast Path between Clovelly and Hartland, Devon, March 2014; inset, Windermere, Cumbria, May 2014.