Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  Seaweed hanging up would predict by its dryness or dampness what the weather was going to be.  So said the old farmworkers [Kingston, Kent, January 2004].

2. I remember as a small boy in the 1950s seeing two items outside a village house in a Welsh rural community between Harlech and Bermo (Barmouth): a piece of seaweed hanging from a post outside the door, and a row of pine [Pinus] cones on the outer wall.  On asking what they were for, the old Welsh woman, Mrs C. Jones, answered in immaculate strongly worded Welsh ‘Mae’r hwymon … (translated into English), the seaweed if it makes an air bursting sound indicates that really good weather is on its way, and if the fir cones open, then warm weather is imminent, but if close it will rain my boy!’ [Llanrug, Gwynedd, August 2002].

3.  Vraic (seaweed) was collected off the beaches by horse and cart and spread on fields as fertilizer until chemical fertilizers became available in the 1950s and 60s.  In common with mainland Britain …  Seaweed hung outside the door gives a good weather forecast [St Martin, Guernsey, April 2002].

4.  Living by the sea we must mention seaweed – a long ‘streamer’ hung by the back door will tell you the weather better than those bokes on TV [Ryde, Isle of Wight, November 1988].

Images: main, Herne Bay, Kent, December 2021; upper inset, postcard, c.1905, with part of the song ‘Seaweed’ composed by Fred Earle (1877-1915), on the reverse is written: ‘Dear Ada glad you are coming to the fair be sure and feel the seaweed and you will no [sic.] if it going to be fine’; lower inset, Douglas, Isle of Man, September 2023.