Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


0401.    Sheaf of reeds decorating porch of St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere, Cumbria, as part of its annual rush-bearing ceremony, 11 July 2015.

2. [11 year-old girl] We make duck noises with reeds: put them between your thumbs and blow to make the duck’s quack.  It drives my dog mad [Faversham, Kent, July 2015].

3. [Reed] harvested post flowering as roofing material for houses [Milltown, Co. Kerry, August 2009].

4. I was born in 1926, so   my childhood extended from that date until about 1940. I spent my childhood in a village in mid Oxfordshire.
STNEC 012A game played by the boys in the village was bows and arrows.
The bow was made from a stout briar.
The arrows were made from the previous year’s reed stem with a tip of about three inches of elder [Sambucus nigra] stuck on the end for weight and direction. The arrows were capable of travelling 100 yards [Letchworth, Hertfordshire, May 2001].

010Image: main, Springwell Reedbed, London Borough of Hillingdon, March 2015; middle inset, used as ‘water reed’ for thatching, Clovelly, north Devon, June 2016; lower inset, Judas Gap Sluice, River Stour, between Dedham and Flatford, Essex, September 2015.