Louise Bustard, Assistant Curator at Glasgow Botanic Gardens relates how the sticky substance in the stem of the marshmallow plant was formerly used like gelatine for making the soft and chewy sweet known marshmallow.
She tells us also that the tree known as Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree) is a living fossil dating from the age of the dinosaurs. It is native to China but has been widely planted elsewhere.
Extracts from the Ginkgo tree are associated with memory enhancement and also some (inconclusive) studies have shown it may have a role in Alzheimer’s treatment.
Marigolds, with their golden yellow petals are familiar plants in the kitchen garden. The petals can be used in salads, while, as an extract often called Calendula and made into cream or ointment form, the plant is used for treating minor skin conditions.
Marigolds have a further role in organic gardening, as companion plantings beside vegetables, as they keep away whitefly.
Meadowsweet, a plant of wet meadows, was used in ancient times as a flavouring for ale and it also has a medicinal use. According to Ms Bustard, along with the bark of willow, containing salicylic acid, similar chemicals in the meadowsweet combine to form aspirin.