Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


0071. Bird’s eye or speedwell – if you pick one your mother’s eyes will drop out [South Stainley, North Yorkshire, March 1992].

2. Blue speedwell is known as bird’s eyes – it must not be picked at all, or the birds will pluck out one’s eyes [Driffield, Humberside, March 1985]

0013. As a small child I believed that if I picked the small blue flower – speedwell? – birds would come and peck my eyes out – this I’m sure came from other children’s tales of horror; we used to call the flower bird’s eye [Wigston Magna, Leicestershire, July 1983].

Images: main, germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys), Saxon Shore Way between  Ecclesbourne Glen and Fairlight Glen, East Sussex, May 2014; upper inset, common field speedwell (Veronica persica) Hillside Gardens Park, London Borough of Lambeth, March 2015; lower inset, slender speedwell (Veronica filiformis), Ayres End Lane, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, April 2015.