Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus)

Menidi, Aitoloakarnania

Menidi, Aitoloakarnania

Asphodelus aestivus (Liliaceae family) is commonly known as summer asphdel, tall asphodel, asphodel or common asphodel (ασφόδελος ή ασφόντηλας). The name of the genus "asphodelus" means unsupassed and the species name "aestivus" of the summer, but despite the name it blossoms in spring. It is a bolbus plant with leaves growing directly from the ground and the stalk is hollow. The inflorescence is small with 6 petals and white with a red-brown stripe in the middle. One of the quite unusual features is that the ovary is superior (situated above the flower parts, see picture below) when in most flowers it is inferior.
Menidi, Aitoloakarnania

In greek mythology it is a plant connected with death and the underworld and according to Homer it was covering the haunt of the dead. Also Persephone was supposed to wear an asphodel crown. The roots were eaten by poor people and also it was supposed to be a remedy for snake bites and against sorcery.
The appearance of vast number of the flower in an area is an indication of desertification of it.
Menidi, Aitoloakarnania

Menidi, Aitoloakarnania


Joop Zand said...

Never seen this lovely flower..... nice shots again.

Greetings, Joop

marijke said...

We only have the a member of the family overhere. A yellow one. Your photo's ar gorgeous. Thanks for the background story.
gr. Marijke

Giga said...

Tak pięknie wygląda, że mógł by zdobić ogród. Pozdrawiam.*** Φαίνεται τόσο όμορφο που θα μπορούσε να κοσμούν τον κήπο. Δικός σου.

Greece's Flora said...

they are trully very beautiful! they are fairly common here!!