Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

REMINDER: Events 8 & 9 September

Two events at the weekend:

Saturday 8:  The Many Uses of Woodland Plants, Stambourne Woods, London Borough of Croydon (nearest station Crystal Palace), 11 a.m.

Report:  Despite it being a Friends of Stambourne Woods work day about 10 people abandoned their activities to spend about 90 minutes wandering through the Woods and discussing the uses of some of the plants found there.  Many of the plants discussed were those which the Friends are trying to control or eradicate: Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica, formerly gathered by schoolboys for use as peashooters, and also nibbled and known by  such names as sally-rhubarb and sugar cane; brambles, Rubus fruticosus agg., and cherry laurel, Prunus laurocerasus.  We also examined enchanter’s nightshade, Circaea lutetiana, which despite it’s English name appears to have no known uses.

Sunday 9: Plants – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Wandle Park, London Borough of Merton (nearest station Colliers Wood, Northern Line), 2.30 p.m.

Report:  About 10 people gathered on a warm and sunny afternoon to spend 90 minutes or so wandering around the Park.  We noted two plants which are considered to be vigorously invasive, floating pennywort, Hydrocotyle ranuncoides, native to North America, at one time sold as an aquarium plant and first recorded in the wild in Britain in 1990, and Indian balsam, Impatiens glandulifera, grown as an ornamental in the British Isles in the 1830s, and first recorded in the wild in 1855.  However, June Chatfield, and expert on (amongst other things) snails, informed us that water snails ‘love’ floating pennywort, while people enjoyed the flamboyant flowers of Indian balsam, and the youngest participant was fascinated by its explosive seed pods, we were also told that the mature seeds could be eaten.

For further details see the Events page on this website.

Image: floating pennywort, Wandle Park, September 2018.

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