Asphodelus aestivus, Asphodelus ramosus, Asphodelus microcarpus,
Common Asphodel, Hebrew: עירית גדולה, Arabic: يغ نلاص
"So that I was cheered when I came first to know
that there were flowers also in hell."
William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963), American poet
"Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"
|| ||Asphodelus aestivus Brot.|
|| ||Asphodelus ramosus L.|
|| ||Asphodelus microcarpus Salzm. et Viv.|
|| || Common Asphodel|
|| ||עירית גדולה|
|| ||يغ نلاص|
|| ||Liliaceae, שושניים|
|| || Hemicryptophyte|
|| ||Erect, single, glabrous branched scape|
|| ||Basal rosette; sessile from an underground stem; parallel venation, ensiform, smooth margin|
|| ||White with pink, stellate; 6 tepals with central reddish-brown mid-vein; 6 anthers, white firm filament and an orange anther; superior ovary|
|Fruits / pods:
|| ||Green dehiscent capsule with up to 6 seeds|
|| || January, February, March, April|
|| || Batha, Phrygana, Shrub-steppes|
|| ||Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon|
|| || Mediterranean|
Derivation of the botanical name:
Asphodelus, ασφοδελοϛ, Greek name for this plant. Asphodel means the unsurpassed. The English word “daffodil” is a perversion of “asphodel,” formerly written “affodil.” Some philologists suggest that de name daffodil arose from the Dutch de affodil.
aestivus, Latin: æstivus, of summer, as in summer, summer-like.
microcarpusmicros, μικροϛ, "small, little, short", carpos, καρποϛ, "fruit"; small fruits.
In Greek poetry and mythology, the asphodel is the flower of Hades and the dead, sacred to Persephone.
- The standard author abbreviation Brot. is used to indicate Felix de Silva Avellar Brotero (1744–1828), Portugal, a botanist.
- 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 Salzm. is used to indicate Friedrich Zacharias Salzmann, 1730-1801, gardener, Potsdam (Sans Souci).
- The standard author abbreviation Viv. is used to indicate Domenico Viviani (1772–1840), a professor of botany at Genoa.
- Homer, epic poet of 9th-century BCE., Greece, describes in the "The Odyssey" 24,14, the passage of souls to Haides led by Hermes, the guide of the dead. Here they flit like bats through the dark places beneath the earth, then cross the river Okeanos--passing the gates of the sun, the White Isle, and the land of dreams--to reach the asphodel fields (leimôn asphodelon), final resting place of the dead.
As asphodel was regarded the favourite food of the dead, the ancient Greeks planted it near graves.
- Hesiod, Greek poet (8th century BCE), "Works an Days, 41 , described asphodel as the basic ingredient of a poor man’s pulp : "Fools they are- not to know how much better the half than the whole is what great blessing there is in mallow and asphodel."
- Hippocrates and Dioscorides said that the roots were eaten roasted in ashes.
- Theophrastus stated that the chopped root was mashed with figs and the shoot was consumed fried.
- The Byzantine (5th century CE) lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria (῾Ησύχιος ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς), also stated that asphodel’s root is edible.