William Shakespeare included so many botanical references in his plays, that there are about 175 mentions of flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, seeds, weeds, trees, spices, herbs and vegetables in his works. There are also lots of comments about how to care for various items so he must have been knowledgeable in this area. Here are just a few examples you may recognize.
In As You Like It, Celia says, ”I found him under a tree, like a dropped acorn.” And Puck says in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “All their elves for fear, creep into acorn-cups and hide them there.” Also in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom advises, ”Most dear actors, eat no onions or garlicke, for we are to utter sweet breath.” And Titania said, “Feed him with apricots and dew berries, with purple grapes, green figs and mulberries.”
Many roses are mentioned especially in Henry VI, for example, Somerset says, ”Here in my scabbard meditating, that shall dye your white roses in a bloody red.”
Violets also occur frequently. For example, Ophelia says, “I would give you some violets but they withered when my father died. And Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream says, “Where oxslips and the nodding violet grows…,” and Queen Cymbeline mentions, “The violets, cowslips and the primroses…..”
This is Moya Andrews and today we focused on Shakespeare's plants.