Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  My mother [b.1929, grew up in Somerset, moved to Dorset] used to say if you transplant parsley it would bring bad luck [Streatham, London, November 2017].

2.  [Dublin]  My mother, Peggy Walsh [1926-2009] would never grow parsley in the garden in case the eldest daughter (me [b.1963]) became pregnant.  It was grown in copious amounts after I got married [Natural History Museum, London, June 2015].

Other records of this belief and any similar beliefs would be appreciated.

3.  [South Yorkshire and Normandy, 1950s and 60s] Fresh parsley in the neck of children’s shirt/blouse will stop them feeling car sick [Penge, London, September 2012].

4. My father would never transplant parsley; he said it meant death in the family [Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, August 2004].

5.   Older gardeners in this district believe that you should not give people parsley plants as it brings death to the reciprocant’s family.
Parsley in any event can only grow in profusion from seed where the wife/females in the family are the stronger sex (‘wear the trousers’) [Holbeach, Lincolnshire, January 2003].

6. Parsley put under the armpits will dry up a mother’s milk [St Martin, Guernsey, April 2002].

7. Random recollections of plant-lore I have encountered over my life-time – mainly in south Wales. I am now almost 79-years-old … Parsley – it was said to go ‘six times to the Devil’ before it germinates. It is very slow. There are also all sorts of strange ideas about sowing parsley, such as watering the drill with boiling water before sowing [Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan, October 2000].

8. If parsley grows well in the garden, the missus is boss [Weobley, Herefordshire, August 1998].

9.  When offered parsley seedlings a friend recoiled in alarm: ‘Transplant parsley, transplant sorrow’ [Headington, Oxford, August 1997].

10. A customer in the shop explained how in Scotland parsley in the bath was good for hives [i.e. childhood rashes] etc. [Streatham, London, June 1994].

11. Parsley:
1) Sow on Good Friday.
2) Take plenty to recuperate quickly after childbirth. Berkshire, 1850s-70s. Told by my mother to me in 1920/30, as told by her grandmother to her in 1890, so practised by her mother (who had 23 surviving children) in the mid-nineteenth century [Farnham, Surrey, December 1985].

12. Where parsley stays green all the year round the wife wears the trousers [West Wimbledon, London, November 1983].

Image: cultivated, Sheffield, South Yorkshire; July 2015.