|Scientific name:||Ferula communis L.|
|Common name:||Common Giant Fennel|
|Hebrew name:||כלך מצוי|
|Family:||Umbelliferae / Apiaceae, סוככיים|
|Stems:||Up to 200 cm; very robust stem, 3-7 cm in diameter, green, jointed, hollow stalks, branched, finely striated|
|Leaves:||Alternate, rosette, dissected, bipinate or more|
|Flowers:||Yellow; 5 petals|
|Fruits / pods:||Achene; mericarp, elliptical or oblong-elliptical, strongly compressed dorsally; 7-15 mm long|
|Flowering Period:||March, April, May|
|Distribution:||Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes|
Derivation of the botanical name:
Ferula, the Latin name for Giant Fennel; And...a Ferule is a schoolmaster's rod, such as a cane, stick, or flat piece of wood, used in punishing children. The Giant fennel has tall sticklike stems.
Ferula is a very fast growing plant, that reaches a height of 2 meters and more. The flowering stem’s unbelievable growth speed can rank the Ferula as a symbol of vitality and growth power, and perhaps this is the origin of the Hebrew saying: “avad ala’v ha-kelah”, meaning “has grown old and irrelevant” (the Hebrew word for Ferula is “Kelah”; “avad ala’v” means “has been lost”). This saying comes from the book of Job:
whereto should it profit me?
men in whom ripe age is perished.
גַּם-כֹּחַ יְדֵיהֶם, לָמָּה לִּי; עָלֵימוֹ, אָבַד כָּלַח
This explanation is supported by the fact that the Ferula ripens and dries out just as quickly as it grows and this interpretation connects with another verse in Job, which is part of a description of the life of a man who is blessed by God:
like as a shock of corn cometh in in its season".
תָּבוֹא בְכֶלַח אֱלֵי-קָבֶר; כַּעֲלוֹת גָּדִישׁ בְּעִתּוֹ.