Plant Magic by Gregory J. Kenicer

Thanks to the author, publisher and Love Books Tours for the copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Let’s start with the blurb: An informative and entertaining look at why plants have been used in magic and what that tells us about people and plants in a post-magic world.

With chapters on subjects as diverse as Witchcraft, Curses and Blessings, Divination, the Plants of Faery, Hallucinogens, Divine Plants in the Christian and Pagan traditions and a Plant Bestiary, Greg Kenicer’s book is an erudite and informative look at how and why various plants have had a role in Europe’s supernatural and magical traditions.

Individual entries look at particular plants combining botanical analysis with historical examples and anecdote to explain exactly why each plant came to be used in this way. Considerations of dangers and actual efficacy cast light on how modern science is now re-examining the uses of many of the plants and how the evolution of the plants themselves has been influenced by our use of them.

Whether Foxglove or Mandrake, Hawthorn or Aspen, Rowan or Oak, St. John’s Wort or Bird Cherry, Plant Magic shines a bright and fascinating new light on dozens of familiar plants.

Here’s my review: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed dipping into the fascinating histories and uses of seemingly innocent plants through the ages, as well as their parts in folklore and myths. For example, primrose was thought to open the door to an enchanted castle full of wealth. And according to a County Donegal tale, cutting down a hawthorn led to faeries trying to steal a baby.

The plants, herbs and trees are split up into alphabetised sections, making it easy to navigate, and the gently sparkling cover is beautifully enticing. This is a stunning book which would make a perfect Christmas gift for anyone interested in plants, old beliefs or folklore. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.