Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Upcoming events: 13-21 July

Posted on by royvickery |

Upcoming events over the next few weeks; for further details see the Events page on this website:

Wednesday 13 July: Prison Bank Wild Flower Walk, Wandsworth Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, 7.00-c.8.00 p.m. Fully booked, to be repeated on Thursday 21 July.

Report: 12 people turned up on a warm evening, after a hot day, to re-examine an area which we first explored in 2021.  Although this year’s walk was a week earlier than the previous one many of the plants seen in flower last year had finished flowering this year, thus we were unable to find such treats as grass vetchling, Lathyrus nissolia, though we were pleased to find white bryony, Bryonia dioica, the only member of the Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family) native to the British Isles, a plant which appears to have become more widespread in south London in recent years.

Thursday 14 July:  Summer Wild Flower Walk, Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, 7.00-c.8.00 p.m.

Report: Six people enjoyed an hour wandering around part of the rapidly drying out Common, where we  speculated on the origin of Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, growing at the edge of the woodland, and were able to find four species of clover, Trifolium.

‘A very Zen walking tour.’

Sunday 17 July:  Fantastic Flora:  Cemetery Plants, their uses and folklore walk, Brompton Cemetery, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 2 p.m.

Report:  Eight people rejected the rival attractions of catacomb and general cemetery tours, and joined the flora walk.  This involved discussion of several of the usual plants, such as bramble, Rubus fruticosus, and nettle, Urtica dioica, and everlasting pea, Lathyrus latifolius, which is conspicuous in the Cemetery throughout the summer.  One participant generously shared memories of her childhood in Bulgaria.

Tuesday 19 July:  Exotic Plants in Battersea Park walk, London Borough of Wandsworth, for Battersea Women’s Institute.

Report:  Nine ladies braved record-breaking high temperatures and later threats of thunderstorms to spend about 75 minutes wandering around a small corner of the Park and discussing some of the plants found there, including honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, from North America, medlar, Mespilus germanica from southeast Europe, and alexanders, Smyrnium olusatrum, believed to have been introduced from Europe by the Romans.

‘Thank you for coming out on the hottest day ever in London to give us such an enjoyable walk.’

Thursday 21 July:  Prison Bank Wild Flower Walk, Wandsworth Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, 7.00 – c.8.00 p.m., a repeat of the 13 July walk. Fully booked.

Report: 12 people turned up for this walk. Although the weather was cooler than it was on 13 July the vegetation continued to suffer from the recent drought. Consequently we concentrated on plants growing around the perimeter of the site, rather than the grassland. Species discussed included hop, Humulus lupulus, lesser swinecress, Lepidium didymum, and buck’s-horn plantain, Plantago coronopus. The last is essentially a seaside plant, which has moved inland along salted roads, and in London now seems to be spreading away from roadsides.

Images:  upper, Roy Vickery with elecampane, Inula helenium, Tooting Common (see Thursday 14 July), © Carlos Bruzon, July 2022; lower, in Battersea Park with Battersea WI, 19 July 2022, © Danielle Rose.

Updated 27 July 2022.

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