George Proud gave a fascinating illustrated talk to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust Group in Rothbury on the names, mythology, folklores and uses of wild flowers.
We learnt that our county flower is the bloody cranesbill which is found on coastal limestone areas and was used to treat diarrhoea.
The grass of Parnassus which is Sunderland’s county flower is found on Holy Island.
Holy Island is a haven to many wild flowers such as cornflowers, which used to be common but are now rare. They were used to treat the plague, old people’s eyesight and for the healing of wounds!
The scarlet pimpernel is also found there and only opens its flowers when there is enough light, which possibly explains its other name – shepherd’s clock.
Many orchids also grow there, as does eyebright which was used to treat conjunctivitis and poor sight.
Many of the wild flowers had multiple uses in medicine, including crosswort, found in the Ingram Valley, which cured hernias as well as wounds.
Burdock was used to make a cordial as well as treating dandruff and flatulence.
Honeysuckle cured sunburn and snakebites, while bindweed, commonly known as scurvy grass, was rich in vitamin c.
The talk was extremely interesting and well attended.
The next talk is by Simon Elliot, who is a sound recordist, on Monday, November 4, at 7.30pm in the Jubilee Hall, Rothbury.