Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Inverness-shire plant-lore

Notes kindly supplied by Christina M. Palmer of ltvaich, Inverness-shire, April 2012:

I’m an over 70 years old who was born and bred in Inverness-shire
I spent many summers in the company of my grandmother who was very knowledgeable about potions and cures from indigenous plants and flora.
The two most taboo flowers that were not allowed in the house were white foxgloves [Digitalis purpurea] and lilac [Syringa vulgaris].
Arum lilies [Zantedeschia aethiopica] were also bad luck, probably because of their connection with funerals
Cures were derived from feverfew [Tanacetum parthenium] for headaches, as well as birch [Betula spp.] bark sap also for headaches (I believe it contains asprin).
Stewed rhubarb [Rheum x rhabarbarum] for constipation.
Dock [Rumex spp.] leaf rubbed on nettle [Urtica dioica] stings to stop the burning. You will always find docks growing alongside nettles
Dandelion [Taraxacum officinale] leaves were eaten to help arthritis sufferers.
Sorrel [Rumex acetosa] to calm the stomach.
In very early times children did not wear nappies during the day but at night they had a wad of bog cotton [Eriophorum spp.] heads to help keep them dry.
Even during the Second World War I recall collecting sphagnum [Sphagnum spp.] moss; it was dried and sent out to the front to dress wounds.

Image: white foxglove; Burwash Weald, East Sussex, July 2015.

Updated 8 July 2015.