Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


2014-01-31 15.25.52 1. To get rid of the smell in trainers you can put two bay leaves in them [Tooting Common, London, April 2023].

2. (photo) Wreath of bay leaves placed at the Holocaust Memorial, Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, Venice, Italy, 31 January (four days after Holocaust Memorial Day) 2014.

3. From Spain (where we have a house), 2012: use bay leaves to get rid of weevils in cupboards. We take bay leaves from London, where we have a bay tree in our garden. It seemed to work [Holland Park, London, June 2013].

4. Where the bay tree flourishes, there flourishes money [Oxshott, Surrey, February 1998].

5. I went to school in Bournemouth in the 1950s/60s. A week before Hallowe’en we’d pick seven bay leaves each. On five we’d write boys’ names – friends, fantasies, whatever – on one we’d write ‘old maid’ and on the remaining leaf there would be a question mark. The leaves would be put in an envelope and kept under our pillows. Each morning we’d take one out, without looking at it, and destroy it. On the last morning of course there would be only one left – if it had a name on it, he would become your husband, the others are self-explanatory [Roggenburg, Switzerland, 1995].

6. When my brother and sister-in-law moved to a house in south Devon, near Honiton, 30 years ago, they were told that the bay trees which grew at the entrance would protect the house, but my sister-in-law said they didn’t, because she always said the house had a ghost [Rewley House, Oxford, January 1991].

Main image: cultivated, Crystal Palace Park, London Borough of Bromley, October 2014.