Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  Lousewort is common in the New Forest.  We would pull the flowers off and suck them when I was a kid, you would get a tantalising taste of nectar.  My 8-year-old grandson does this to honeysuckle [Lonicera periclymenum] [Shaftesbury, Dorset, June 2018].

2. I heard concerning lousewort that in the days before interior-sprung mattresses, etc., when sleeping was done on straw-filled palliasses, lousewort got its name as it was useful to have some of this in your bedding as it inhibited lice [Friends of One Tree Hill, Honor Oak, London, March 2016].

3.  [I’m now aged 68], when we were kids we picked lousewort and sucked the flower stems [i.e. the base of the flower]. I really don’t know if this was wise, but I’m still alive [Lerwick, Shetland, July 2011].

Image: Easedale, Cumbria; July 2015.