Field Bindweed

(Convolvulus arvensis) There is little folklore attached to this plant. One Scottish belief mentioned by Wentz, in which putting the burnt ends of the stems over a baby's cradle to protect it from the fairies, is almost certainly bundweed, not bindweed, and refers to Ragwort, which is very much a fairy plant. Thunder-flower is an interesting name for the bindweed. If you pick them, they say, it will be sure to thunder before the day is out (Vickery. 1985). Red Poppy has this name as well, and it is just possible that the name was given to discourage children from damaging crops in trying to gather them. Would they try to pick bindweed, though? Another "unlucky" name for bindweed is the Scottish Young Man's Death, from Perthshire (Vickery. 1985). In this case the result of picking the flowers, if a girl did it, would be the death of her boy-friend. Just possibly the superstition alluded to the way the flowers fade so quickly.

There are hardly any folk medicinal uses involving this plant. Gypsies, though, use an infusion of the leaves or flowers to expel worms (Vesey-Fitzgerald), and the plant has also been used as a wound dressing (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk). Because it twines, the doctrine of signatures claimed it to be good for the intestines (Prest). Perhaps the plant has been spurned too much, for in recent times a recommendation as a good tonic has been given; an infusion of the stems, half an ounce to a pint of boiling water, to make a tea (A W Hatfield).

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