- Author: Kathy Low
Do you know what flower was said to once be “a fair nymph, who was changed by Diana into this flower to avoid the importunities of Apollo?”
Do you know what bush is said to be the burning bush that appeared to Moses?
Do you know what flowering plant Hindu poets refer to as the “Moonlight of the Grove”?
You can find the answers to these questions in a free book available for download.
If you enjoy reading about the lore and legends surrounding plants, then you'll enjoy Richard Folkard's Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics: Embracing the Myths, Traditions, Superstitions, and Folklore of the Plant Kingdom, published in 1884.
The first half of the book consists of sixteen chapters and starts with a look at plant lore associated with the Bible, then expands to look at sacred trees and plants in various religions. It then continues to look at plants in the mythical world of fairies, nymphs, elves, witches and other magical creatures, for example, Elves are supposedly fond of inhabiting oak trees, and the holes in the tree's trunk are used by fairies because of their easy entry and exit. It also looks at plants associated with the devil and witches, like the Deadly Nightshade. There are also chapters on plants connected with birds and animals, such as the relationship between the nightingale and the rose plant, or the dove and the olive tree.
You'll also find a chapter on plants and the planets. Did you know there was a belief that every plant was under the direct influence of a particular planet? For example, plants under the influence of Saturn have hairy, hard dry, coarse and ugly leaves, flowers that are gloomy, dull, prickly and disagreeable, with a bad odor.
The second half of the book is arranged like an encyclopedia of plants. Each plant in this section includes lore associated with the plant, as well as a brief description of the plant and its introduction to different locations.
You can read the book for free online, or download it for free from Project Gutenberg. Simply go to www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/44638.
By the way, if you guessed the answers to the questions above were a tulip, a bramble/blackberry bush, and jasmine, you're correct!