Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  As a child growing up in mid Dorset in the 1950s:  timothy, Phleum pratense – the heads less the seeds were twisted in other children’s hair [e-mail, March 2024].

2. When I was out for a walk with my boyfriend at the weekend, he picked some timothy and said ‘This is one I know’. He took a flowerhead and twisted it in my hair – it didn’t half hurt. He learnt it at school. Unfortunately his hair is so short I couldn’t do it back [Chiswick, London, July 1999].

3. [Leicestershire, 1940s] Timothy grass – a game played by boys on the girls: the flowering parts were stripped off leaving a rough end about 1 – 1.5 inches long, this was surreptitiously twisted into the girl’s hair and pulled – ouch! If done during class the victim would get into trouble for shouting ! [Llantysilio, Denbighshire, February 1998].

Image:  Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth; September 2015.