Wildflower Folklore by Laura C Martin, 1984, Fast and McMillan, $16.95, hardbound, 256 pages. Cover: colourful, but not as good as the artwork on the inside. Category/Genre: reference. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.
105 of the world's best-known wildflowers are collected here, grouped according to their most frequently-occurring flower colour. Full-page black-and-white line drawings accompany each flower, along with the plant's common name, scientific name, habitat, and blooming period. A brief description is included.
But this book isn't just scientific facts; it includes the history of the wildflower (how people used to use it and what powers -- magical, medicinal, or otherwise -- they believed it had), its culinary uses, how it got its name, and legends, myths, and stories about the wildflower.
For example, there are many beliefs about dandelion clocks: it is commonly held that if you blow off all the seeds at once, your wish will come true; it's also said that the number of seeds left after a hard puff is the number of children you'll have. And if you whisper words of love, then blow the seeds gently towards your loved one, the seeds will carry your words to him.
An interesting book for anyone interested in folklore or flowers.
If you like this one, try: Folklore of Birds, by Laura C Martin; and Wildlife Folklore, by Laura C Martin.