Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. As a child I lived in Swansea, south Wales, and my Gran lived in the house opposite. I was constantly ill until about aged three years and my mother swore that it was Gran’s old methods that pulled me through … For cuts and scraped knees (I had weak ankles, but was always skipping and running, therefore always falling), she kept a mouldy crust in a paper bag, in the bread bin. This was a miracle worker and always healed scraped knees and palms [anon., April 2002].

2. Radnorshire. My great grandmother (died 1903) always kept mouldy jam in the house to put on cuts. Primitive penicillin, I suppose [Rhymney, Gwent, March 1991].

3. In Hampshire (Basingstoke area) my grandmother used to take the mould from jam and place it on any wounds, particularly those which were beginning to go septic [Maida Hill, London, March 1978].

Image: mouldy bread fed to birds, Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth; September 2014.