Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. [?1970s] In Italy they would cure warts with unripe fruits of figs. You would take an unripe fig, cut it in half and rub the white stuff on the wart. I used to do it as a child [Brompton Cemetery, London, June 2010].

2. [Turkish Cyprus] You can use the latex from fig trees to remove corms [Natural History Museum, London, April 2002].

3. Do you know about the Watford fig tree? It grows in the churchyard there. The story is that years ago there was an unbeliever who the local vicar kept on trying to convert. When the unbeliever died he said that a fig tree would grow from his grave if there was a god. I don’t know if the tree is still there; I haven’t been to Watford for a long time [Lewisham, London, April 1986].

4. Fig Sue .. is a Good Friday drink – I don’t know why only Good Friday. It is: Stew 4 oz figs in 1 pint water until tender. Rub through a sieve, add one tabelspoon sugar and pinch of ground ginger. Warm 2 pints ale and add puree – bring to boil and serve [Clappersgate, Cumbria, October 1985].

Images:  main, cultivated, garden of Gloucester Folk Museum, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, September 2015; inset, postcard depicting the Watford fig, posted July 1907.