|Rowan: flowers, leaves and fruits|
Image: J. Lyon
Rowan was also important in folklore. Flora Celtica tells us that during a more superstitious past, hanging sprigs of rowan - on doors, on sailing boats and on cows' tails - was considered one of the most powerful ways of warding off evil and attracting good fortune. Conversely, cutting down a rowan tree was believed to bring bad luck.
According to C18th Scots author John Lightfoot, rowan berries were fermented and distilled to make a "very good" spirit; so it's hardly surprising that when Andy Amphlett, BSBI County Recorder for Banffshire, was working with Sandy Jamieson, Speyside Distillery manager, to choose ingredients for Byron's Gin, they selected rowan as one of those ingredients.
This is probably a good time to remind you that if you buy a bottle of Byron's Gin to enjoy the delicious mix of ingredients, including rowan, you will also be helping to support the next generation of botanists, because - under the contract BSBI entered into with Speyside Distillery - for every bottle sold, a contribution is made to BSBI's Training programme. Slainte!