“Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…” From Shakespeare to Sabrina, witches have appeared in popular culture for centuries, with centuries more of mythology to inspire their more modern, often teenaged form. The botanical aficionados we are, the design team at Ozone was fascinated by the plants that played a large role in the folklore surrounding witchcraft. We imagine that Macbeth’s witches may have tossed some of these blooms into their potions...what a shame that our socks didn’t exist then!
This mushroom holds important significance in cultures worldwide for its reported psychotropic effects. It appears throughout time most often as a tool in shamanistic rituals from Mayan societies to Eastern Siberia, though some groups of Lithuanians have historically infused the wild buttons into vodka for wedding celebrations. In pop culture, an amanita muscaria is sat upon by the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, and inspired the iconic size-doubling toadstool in the Mario Bros video game series.
Named for its tiny, bell-shaped blooms that are just large enough to fit one’s fingers inside, the fairy glove has been used as an ailment for heart and kidney problems. However, modern science has proven the plant has significant toxicity, so we certainly would not recommend trying it! Witches also believed that it could serve both to attract fairies and break their spells, should they fall under one.
Bioluminescence, or the ability to glow in the dark, has been found on the spores (and in some cases, the cap or stem) of a number of mushrooms. Scientific research is still being conducted on several species, but many conclusions point to the relationship between the fungus and its host tree. Certain mushrooms may give off light as a result of breaking down organisms in the tree it grows on, also advantageous for attracting insects and other small animals that will spread its spores and increase its presence.
This plant was actually thought of in the Middle Ages to protect one from the evils of witchcraft. It was often hung around the neck of a farmer’s cattle to ward off evil spirits, and was believed to cure internal bleeding and ease the pain of wounds if ingested. Today, research has shown the plant to actually be an effective topical treatment for eczema and possibly ringworm.
Know any facts we may have missed? Share them below!
~Ben LoPiccolo - Content Creator for Ozone Design