A great deal of plant folklore has been around for so many years that it is impossible now to determine its origins. Over the course of history much of it has been modified or adopted by different groups. There are many parts of Christian practice and superstition that originate from pagan times.
The incorporation of Ilex aquifolium, holly, and Hedera helix, ivy, in Christmas tradition, for example, comes from the pagan belief that between them these two plants were responsible for keeping plant life going through the winter. And it’s not just Christmas; the species name of maculatum is applied to plants with speckled stems most of which are said to have grown under Christ’s cross.
Taxus baccata, yew, is a tree with a great deal of folklore mostly associated with its long life and its growth habit. For the purposes of my latest Poisonous Plants 1-2-1 video I’ve focused on the parts of the folklore that where pagan origins explain the trees presence in Christian churchyards.
Here’s the video.
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