Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Red clover

1.  [Easington Colliery, Co. Durham, 1970s].  As children we would pick pink clover flowers and pull the little petals and try and suck the nectar from the bottom of the petals.  The sweetness was more imaginary than real, but it was a common thing to do [e-mail, April 2016].

2. Purple clover:  Jan [b. late 1930s, brought up in north Norfolk] remembered taking one tiny floret from the clover main flower and putting it on her tongue to get a sweet taste [Lichfield, Staffordshire, February 2015].

3.  I am 67 years old and lived as a child on the outskirts of Blackpool … me and my friends used to eat clover – the purple ones. I was told they were safe [Marton, Blackpool, Lancashire, September 2012].

4. During my own childhood in the 1960s … Red clover – each tiny flower stalk was pulled out and the white end squeezed with our front teeth to remove the ‘sugar’ [Chidham, West Sussex, April 1997].

5. Red clover (Trifolium pratense): I am glad to see that children still take the heads of this plant, tug out the flowers and suck the nectar from their base [Stoke, Plymouth, January 1993].

6. I am 43 … Red clover – sweet flowers picked by us, as children, called ‘honey suck’ [Christchurch, Dorset, June 1991].

Images:  main, Shepherd’s Bush Green, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, May 2014; inset, Gloucester, October 2023.