Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. [Cornwall, 1950s] Pennywort sap rubbed on nettle stings [Hilltop Garden Club, Eastcombe, Gloucestershire, December 2013].

2. Umbilicus rupestris: The lower epidermis peeled off the leaf and the leaf then used as a dressing to ‘draw’ a boil or septic spot. This method was still used in the 1940s [St Martin, Guernsey, April 2002].

3. Pennywort, also known as pennypies. used for rubbing on chilblains (information from a local man aged 65+) [Kingsbridge, Devon, April 1999].

4. Gower plant-lore … juice of pennywort as a cure for warts [Bishopston, Swansea, April 1997].

5. Pennywort leaves can be softened, a piece of grass used to pierce the stem and then blown up like balloons. (I could never do this but often saw others do it) [Minehead, Somerset, November 1993].

6. A local farmer tells me he always uses pennywort if he gets a thorn or splinter in his fingers. He peels the skin from the back of the leaf before applying and ’tis drawn out in a day or two’ [St Ervan, Cornwall, February 1992].

Image: Winchelsea, East Sussex; May 2014.