Lucky Plants

LEEKS were lucky plants to grow in the garden, protectors from both evil spirits and human enemies, especially when worn (Trevelyan). WHITE HEATHER is lucky, too - "happy is the married life of her who wears the white heather at her wedding" (Cheviot). It is a lucky plant in France, and in Belgium, at least in the Liege district, where it is said that the girl who finds it will have good luck in her household management (Sebillot). There used to be a general belef in the good fortune brought by HOPS. Wreaths made of them were once commonly seen over the mantelpiece in country areas, put there for luck, and for ensuring the household's prosperity (Opie & Tatem). RAMSONS cloves used to be planted in Ireland on thatch over the door, for good luck (Opie & Tatem) in general, but in particular to ward off fairy influences (Mooney). HOUSELEEK, too, in the thatch, is a lucky plant, for it not only protects from fire and lightning, but brings good luck and long life to the occupants of the house. The negative aspect is shown in a Sussex saying that bad luck would arrive if the houseleek was removed from the roof (Latham). SAGE is a lucky plant, and FLAX is too. In parts of Germany, when a young woman gets married, she puts flax in her shoes as a charm against poverty (Dyer. 1889). In Scotland, CLUBMOSS is something that brings luck to a house. As long as a piece of it is in the house, bad luck cannot enter (Gregor. 1888). MYRTLE is a plant to be proud of. It was said in Somerset that when planting it, one should "spread out the tail of one's gown", and look proud, or it would not flourish (Tongue). In the same area, it is said to be one of the luckiest plants to have in a window box, although it will not grow there unless planted by a good woman (Baker. 1980). Again, one has to be proud of it, and water it each morning. The luck in having a flourishing bush of myrtle is often expressed, and not only in this country, for a Greek rhyme translates:

Who passeth by a myrtle bush,and plucketh not a twig,

O may he not enjoy his youth, although he's tall and big (Argenti & Rose).

CARNATIONS are lucky plants. They often figured as such in oriental carpet symbolism (Bouisson), and the good luck extended to protection from witchcraft in Italian folklore. On St John's Eve, when witches were specially active, all you had to do was to give them a flower. For any witch had to stop and count the petals, and long before she had done that, you were well out of reach. Finding a green-topped RUSH is just as lucky as finding a four-leaved clover:

With a four-leaved clover, a double-leaved ash, and a green-topped Seave,

You may go before the queen's daughter without asking leave (Burton).

"Seave" is a Yorkshire name for a rush (Hartley & Ingilby). DAFFODILS are difficult to categorize. Granted, the first daffodil is lucky. If you find that, then you will have more gold than silver that year (Trevelyan). But many aspects of daffodil lore place it in the distinctly unlucky category. (see UNLUCKY PLANTS)

In Ireland, GOAT WILLOW, or SALLOW is taken to be a lucky tree. It is a good thing to take a sallow rod with you on a journey, and in times past it was believed that the butter would be bound to come if a peeled rod were put round the churn (Grigson. 1955), just as they believed that driving cows with a "sally" rod would ensure a good supply of milk (O'Farrell).

CHICKWEED is a lucky plant, at least to the people of the Fen country of England, where it used to be grown in pots, to bring good luck to the house (Porter. 1969).

The UPRIGHT ST JOHN'S WORT is known as Luck-herb in the Isle of Man (Moore, Morrison & Goodwin), and recognized as a bringer of good luck. It was especially prized when found in the flocks' fold, for this would augur peace and prosperity to the herds throughout the year (Carmichael).

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