Today’s folklore is a bit of a Hail Mary. It takes wormwood a minimum of 14 days to sprout, and St Luke’s Day, when I’ll need it, is 15 days away. When I last foraged for artemisia, my mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) turned out to be fleabane, so I thought I might need a backup and potted me some wormwood, aka ware-mouth, aka old woman, aka artemisia absinthium. Yes, as in absinthe.
I’ve even watered my pot with moon juice in the hope that will give my seeds a bit of psychic encouragement. But if it doesn’t grow in time, all is not lost. Flavouring absinthe, isn’t wormwood’s only trick. Mixed with ink, it’s claimed wormwood will deter rats and mice from chewing paper the ink has been used to write on. Plus it’s also said to repel moths and fleas. And should I ever find my beer is too bitter, I can just pop in a sprig, as it’s said to vastly improve the flavour. Frankly, it makes me wonder why I haven’t grown any before. Probably something to do with the two years it takes for wormwood to reach its full potency. Well, at least that’s St Luke’s Day 2022 sorted.
Baker, M. (2019) Discovering The Folklore of Plants, Oxford, Shire Publications
Culpeper (1995) Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Ware, Wordsworth Editions Ltd
Vickery, R. (2019) Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson