Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

White deadnettle

1.  [Lancashire, 1970s]  The white flowers of the deadnettle are always in twos.  This is because they are actually pixie shoes that have been left outside their house.  Pick a deadnettle, turn it upside down – they are pointed pixie shoes [Edinburgh, November 2015].

2.  ‘Cinderella’s slippers’ are found in white deadnettle flowers according to Jan [b. late 1930s, brought up in north Norfolk].  If you look inside the white flowers you can find two black slippers [Lichfield, Staffordshire, February 2015].

3.  White deadnettle helps when you get stung by a stinging nettle [Urtica dioica]. Just squeeze the juice out … and apply it on the spot, pain gone in two seconds! [Antwerp, Belgium, June 2013].

4. [Latvia] You can pluck the little white flowers [of white deadnettle] and suck the sweet nectar from the narrow end. Loved to do it as a kid [Natural History Museum, London, June 2013]; also recorded from Antwerp, Belgium, June 2013, Italy, September 2018, and Poland, October 2014.

5. [c. 1940s] There was a nettle which didn’t sting – it had white flowers – which grew between Bray and Cookham [Berkshire], the local man who used to look after the roads and lanes – he would mend them so there were never any puddles in the winter – used to collect it when repairing the hedges, and eat it as a salad [Fulham, London, April 2012].

6. When I was young [c.1995] in Germany I used to suck the bottom of white deadnettle flowers, they tasted like honey [Natural History Museum, London, October 2011].

7. ‘We used to suck them [the flowers of white deadnettle]’
‘When and where was that?’
‘Wiltshire, that’s where I was brought up, about 40 years ago. We sucked clover flowers as well’ [Tooting, London, October 2010].

8. I used to suck the nectar from white deadnettle flowers when I was at school [c. 1975] in Kent [Brompton Cemetery, London, June 2010].

9. As a child I remember sucking the flowers of white deadnettle to extract the nectar [Little Barford, Cambridgeshire, March 1993].

Image: Bishops Tawton, north Devon; March 2014.