Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Wood sorrel

1. P. O’S [70 +, of Ballinahinch, Birdhill, Co. Tipperary] … The leaves of wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) were chewed for their enjoyable bitter-sweet taste, and an old woman told him how this was considered to be the original shamrock. Cows are reputedly very fond of eating the plant also [Clonlara, Co. Clare, June 2002].

0072. Random recollections of plant-lore I have encountered over my lifetime – mainly in south Wales. I am now almost 79-years-old:
Wood sorrel was known to us boys as cuckoo’s bread-and-cheese, and we would sample a few of the leaves and flowers for their astringent taste [Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan, October 2000].

3. I was born and lived as a child in Crowborough, which is in Sussex although right on the Kent border, and remember the following … Wood sorrel we called egg-and-cheese – presumably from its sharp taste when chewed, but I think vinegar would be more appropriate! [Pershore, Worcestershire, October 1991].

Iamges:  main, near Bodmin, Cornwall, April 2014; inset, Stonegate, East Sussex, July 2015.