Ammi visnaga,Tooth pick, Khella, Bishop's weed,
خلة بلدى ,אמיתה קיצית

"Oro, plata, visnaga, o nada!" (Gold, silver, visnaga, or nothing!)
Andalusian (Spain) saying

Scientific name:  Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam.
Synonym name:  Daucus visnaga L.
Common name:  Khella, Bishop's weed, Tooth pick
Hebrew name:  אמיתה קיצית, Amita Keitzit
Arabic name:   خلة بلدى "Khilla Baladi"
Family:  Umbelliferae / Apiaceae, סוככיים

פרחים וצמחי בר בארץ ישראל

Life form:  Annual
Stems:  Up to 100 cm high; stems erect, highly branched
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, dissected twice or more
Flowers:  Hermaphrodite; umbellate; rays, white flowers, highly swollen at the base, become woody and are used as toothpicks
Fruits / pods:  Tiny fruits, which are picked and dried for use in herbal medicines; the seeds contain a fatty oil, which includes khellin
Flowering Period:   April, May, June, July, August
Habitat:  Heavy soils
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral
Israel Fleurs sauvages (פרחי בר בישראל)


Derivation of the botanical name:
Ammi (Dioscorides), from the Greek term ammos meaning “sand” and refers to the plant’s habitat.
visnaga is alleged to have developed from the term “bis acutum” meaning “doubly pointed”.
The Arabic name, khella is used throughout the Middle East.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Lam. is used to indicate Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829), a French botanist.
Ammi visnaga is a member of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae, a family of usually aromatic plants with hollow stems, including parsley, carrot, and other relatives.

Ammi visnaga is a bitter, aromatic plant that is native to the Mediterranean area of North Africa and the Middle East.
The plant grows erect to a height of about 1 meter by 0.5 meters wide and bears wispy leaves, the lower leaves 1-2-pinnate; upper leaves 2-3(4)-pinnate; all leaves with linear to filiform (thread-like) segments.
It has clusters of small white scented hermaphrodite flowers, pollinated by Insects. and tiny fruits, which are picked and dried and used in herbal medicines.
This plant is self fertile, tastes like thyme, and the leaves are chewed for their flavor in some countries.

Ammi visnaga is one of the oldest herbs cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.
The seeds are harvested in late summer before they have fully ripened and are dried for later use.
They contain a fatty oil that includes the substance 'khellin' (khellin, has vasodilator and bronchodilator properties).

The seeds of the Ammi visgana are diuretic and lithotripic and used in the treatment of asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis and kidney stones.
This traditional Arab remedy was mentioned in the Ebers papyrus (1500 BCE).
In 700 BCE the Indian physician Charaka writes Charaka Samhita, which details over 350 herbal medicines including Ammi visnaga.

Ammi visnaga, Bishop's weed, Tooth pick,אמיתה קיצית


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