Halloween is around the corner and over the years there have been many plants associated with this spooky day. The following article is based on folklore found in many plant books I have read through the years and should not be taken seriously.


Halloween is around the corner and over the years there have been many plants associated with this spooky day. The following article is based on folklore found in many plant books I have read through the years and should not be taken seriously. Historically – like witches – there are good and bad herbs plants. The good herb plants repel evil and act as a remedy against enchantment or spells and lightning.

The following are some herbs and plant materials associated with Halloween: ash, bay, caraway, chicory, oxalis, elder, hawthorn, hazel, garlic, rosemary and thyme.

The mountain (Sorbus aucuparia) and European ash trees are associated with Halloween folklore. In the fall ash leaves change from green to yellow to red. Also, on the ash tree there are clumps of persistent orange-red berries that provide food for birds. These trees are planted near homes; it is said they protect all who reside within. Europeans believe cut branches brought indoors bless the home in the coming year. A piece of bark from the mountain ash carried in your pocket keeps away evil wishes. Furthermore, a small branch put in the butter churn keeps butter from souring.
  Bay (Laurus nabilis) is planted near homes or either side the entrance to prevent evil spirits from entering. Also, it protects the house from lightning and thunderbolts.
  Caraway (Carum carvi) has magic powers, too. It is believed a few seeds placed in a straying husband’s pocket will bring him back and keep him from being lured away.
  Chicory (Chicorium intybus) is very powerful. Whoever possesses it has the ability to become invisible.
  Oxalis, a four-leafed clover, gives the wearer the power to see fairies. In addition, strawberry and viola tricolor are considered protectants and avert the evil eye.
  European elder (Sambucus nigra) tree is often used to drive away evil spirits and as a charm against lightning. If one stands under an elder tree on Midsummer Eve, he/she will see the King of Fairyland and his entourage.
  Hawthorn (Crataegeus) tree is considered a magical protectant. It protects people and animals from witches, spirits, and thunderstorms. Branches hung on New Year’s Day in farm kitchens ensure bountiful harvest for the coming year.
  Hazel or European filbert (Corylus avellana) nuts used at Halloween reveal to unmarried girls who their future husbands will be. Named for each maiden present, a row of nuts is placed among hot embers. The name of the lucky man is whispered and, if the pairing is a successful one, the nut jumps from the coals.
  Garlic (Allium sativum) is worn and/ or hung in the home to prevent bewitching, dispose of vampires and to avert the evil eye. During the times of the plague, it caught any circulating germs.
  Rosemary (Rosemarius officinalis) has many legends associated with it. Tiny bundles are tied together and hung over the cradles of babies to protect them from bad dreams. Sprigs carried in the hands have the ability to keep away witches and evil.
  Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has a pleasant legend. It is considered the favorite and cherished herb of fairies. Furthermore, it is believed that if a young maiden places a sprig of rosemary in one shoe and a sprig of thyme in the other, she will have a vision of the man she will marry.

In closing, keep in mind the plant folklore and legends mentioned in this article are to only provide you with a Halloween treat.