An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants by Arthur Cronquist

By Arthur Cronquist

-- "Natural History"

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As often as a man is born, a leaf sprouts on the tree. There is a branch for each village, and of course the leaf appears on the appropriate branch. As long as the leaf is there the man to whom it belongs continues to live, and if he is sick, the leaf withers. If it falls to the ground, it is a human being who is dead, but the leaf will only be pulled by the soul-bird (Roheim). The Santals and other Indian peoples wind the young aerial roots of this tree around the neck, to ensure conception (Pandey).

Like a number of other trees, beech was supposed to be proof against lightning (Dyer), or that lightning never strikes it (Sebillot). Again like other trees, beech has its protectors, as with an enormous specimen known as “The Lady’s Beech”, a few miles from Copenhagen. Legend says this tree was once part of a large forest. While a girl was sheltering under this tree, a white-clad figure appeared to her and prophesied that the girl would become mistress of Kokke-dal. She also made the girl give her her promise never to consent to the tree’s being felled.

SOAPWEED (Yucca glauca) roots were widely used by native Americans as a soap substitute, and by 21 Balsamint Pueblo Indians as a hair wash shampoo as part of the ritual in initiation ceremonies (La Fontaine), though people like the Kiowa claimed it was an effective cure for baldness and dandruff (Vestal & Schultes). One of the more extraordinary remedies for baldness involved SPEAR PLUME THISTLE – see Gerard: “… being stamped before the floure appeareth, and the juice pressed forth, causeth the haire to grow where it is pilled off, if the place be bathed with the juyce”.

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