Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Pampas grass attracts ‘unwanted inquiries’

121According to the London Evening Standard of 30 November 2011, the television presenter Mariella Frostrup received ‘unwanted inquiries’ after placing two pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) plants on the balcony of her flat in Notting Hill, London. It was explained that the plants were a sign that she was seeking ‘casual, adventurous sexual encounters’.
On 2 December the ES returned to this story, commenting on Norwegian-born Frostrup’s ignorance of ‘the fact pampas grass is a secret code for swinging’. ‘This’, it claimed, ‘is one of the oldest urban, or rather suburban, myths under the sun.’

Any comments on this supposedly old ‘myth’ would be appreciated; how old is it?

Update:  The Times of  21 December 2020 reported that ‘Now pampas grass is back in vogue, selling for £25 a stem and with plants being stolen from gardens’.  It’s ‘swaying feathery white plumes were said to be a signal to suburban swingers in the Seventies’. Police  have reports of thefts from as far apart places as Sussex and Greater Manchester.

Image: cultivated, grounds of Worcester Cathedral, Worcestershire; November 2015.

Updated 21 December 2020.

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