A to Z Herbarium: Fern
Rain-making, Protection, Health, Luck, Wealth
Back in the day, people didn’t know how ferns reproduced since they don’t have seeds, so this has led to some interesting folklore. In the Middle Ages, people believed ferns flowered and produced seeds at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve. But, since they couldn’t see said flowers or seeds, they believed them to be invisible. It was believed that if you witnessed the fern flowering or managed to collect the seeds, you could become invisible, see into the future, or be granted eternal youth.
Burning dried fern indoors will ward away evil spirits. Placing fern in vases with flowers has protective properties, as does planting it at the doorstep. Burning fern outdoors will bring rain, and the smoke will keep away snakes. Carrying or wearing fern will lead one to hidden treasure, while breaking the first fern of spring will bring good luck. Alternatively, biting down on the first fern of spring will ward off toothaches for a year.
Many different varieties of fern can be used to treat many different ailments, including arthritis, coughs, stomach aches, fever, pneumonia, infections, and snake bites, to name a few. Some ferns are poisonous though, so don’t go chomping on any random variety.
Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications