Hedysarum coronarium

Hedysarum coronarium

The French honeysuckle (Hedysarum coronarium L.) belongs to the forage plants of the Fabaceae family. It grows spontaneously in almost all countries of the Mediterranean basin.

Systematic –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Fabales Order, Fabaceae Family, Faboideae Subfamily, Hedysareae Tribes and then Hedysarum Genus and H. Coronarium Species.

Etymology –
According to some authors, the term Hedysarum would refer to the concept of sweet taste or sugary scent. The specific term would come from “coronarius” refers to the shape of the flower (crowned, crown flowers). The term on the tree instead refers to the word castellano zulla used to indicate the plant in Spain. Hence the name was also spread in Italy. Rarely used the name Wardrobe related to the color of the inflorescence.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The French honeysuckle is an original plant of the western Mediterranean basin where it grows from the floor up to the low mountain, in the unpaved grassy meadows, but also on the margins of dirt roads and ditches, on mostly clay soils up to 1,200 m.
His domestication is fairly recent; the first historical information dates back to around 1700, botanists claim to have escaped cultivation and spontaneousized in Sicily. However, it is reported for the first time in the early 17th century as an ornamental plant, coming from Spain.
In Europe, in fact, Italy is the only Mediterranean country where it is cultivated on significant surfaces and is inserted into crop alterations. In our country is a leguminous, very much appreciated from the agricultural point of view (as soil improvers and fertilizers) and botanical as it is able to colonize clayey and heavy soils (typical of the southern Adriatic hills) thanks to the which it has. Over the last few years, it has spread to other countries including Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, the western part of North America, Australia and New Zealand, where the species is used for silage production, such as cultivation covering soil preservation and honey production.
In Italy, it is cultivated mainly from Tuscany below and is often found to be naturalized on the margins of unprocessed fields and along the roads.

Description –
Hedysarum coronarium is a perennial herbaceous plant, emicryptophytic, with a size that can usually be between 80-120 cm. Like all emicryphite, it is a perennial plant by means of gems placed at ground level and with an elongated flowering axis.
The important peculiarity of this plant is that it has a radical, well-developed radical apparatus. This characteristic makes it unique among the leguminous in its ability to penetrate and grow even in clay soils and weaving, such as clay soils.
The stem of the tree is quadrangular, with erect stems, high from 0.80 to 150 cm, rather coarse and with the characteristic of lick more or less lightly after flowering; this often makes hay making difficult. It has a very branched, hollow and fistful, with positions that can go from almost prostrate to the yard.
Its French honeysuckle its slightly oval or elliptical leaves; these are imparipennate, pubescent to the margin and the bottom page and composed of 4-6 pairs of leaves. The pegs are triangular-acuminate.
The flower is characterized by a spinous, dense, conical-globular elongated racemic inflorescence, formed by an unbranched axis on which are inserted with short peduncles 20-40 rather large flowers and long peduncles. The cup has longer teeth than the tube. The most striking feature of this plant is that it has a purple, sparsely white purple corolla, a slightly longer blade of wings and hull, long 11-12mm, larger or larger leaves and 5-35 mm wide. This legume blooms towards the end of spring from April to June. Fertilization, crossed, secured by bees and other insects. Due to its characteristic flowering, it gives the lawns where purple reddish colors grow, giving the landscape a unique and unique feature.
The fruit is a legume called limpid, a name derived from the fact that it matures into so many segments as the seeds (discoid, sub-reniform, yellow and usually in the number of 3-5), thus allowing dissemination thanks 2-4 articles almost round, marginalized, thorny tuberculosis and glabrous. The fruit is dressed in a discoid smacked with aculei, containing a seed of lenticular, shiny, yellowish color. The weight of 1000 seeds, which is disk-shaped, is 9 g whole and 4.5 g without shell. On the surface is often the presence of a high percentage of hard seeds. The plant on it is very watery, rich in soluble sugars and abundantly nettarifera, so it is very sought after by bees.

Cultivation –
The French honeysuckle is a fodder plant among the best nitrogen fixators. This is one of the reasons why it has been used for this purpose for several centuries. It is a plant particularly resistant to drought, but not cold, in fact it dies at 6-8 ° C below zero. It adapts to many types of soil and more leguminous to highly calcareous or sodium clay, strongly colloidal and unstable, which with its large and powerful fixation, which performs a good regulating activity, is able to recover in an excellent manner, making it suitable to accommodate other more demanding crops. For this reason it is therefore a fundamental plant for improving, stabilizing and reducing erosion, abnormal and compact clay and crests. In addition, as with many other legumes, the remains of the soil play an important role in fertilizing the soil and improving their structure. Often it is used when the soils show fatigue due to excessive exploitation or incorrect rotation setting. For this reason, being an excellent improvement crop, it is often inserted between the crops of two cereal crops, such as wheat and barley.
The radical apparatus is fitting and some scholars such as those performed by Prof. Gian Pietro Ballatore have argued that being a very radical radical apparatus at the time it decomposes it creates streams that allow the aeration of the soil and hence has the capacity to “plow” the soil.
Sowing technique is undergoing significant evolution; In the past, it was usually bruised, in the autumn with 80-100 kg / ha of shell seed, or in spring with 20-25 kg / ha of bare seed.
In recent years, a planting technique is becoming increasingly popular, that is to sow, in late summer, on wheat stems, bare seed. In the early rains it is born, it grows slowly during autumn and winter and gives its production to the 1st cut, in April-May. Any green shoots, always very modest, can be grazed by livestock before working the soil for the next wheat.
We recall that the use of a nitrogenous bacterium that establishes a symbiosis with the onus is essential for the cultivation of it. This bacillus is usually present in the natural environment. If the soil has never hosted this leguminous and is therefore devoid of specific rhizobe, it is not possible to cultivate the on, which without the symbiosis with the nitrogen fixator bacillus would not grow at all or would grow stent. Under these conditions, you must proceed to “sobbing”; technique that involves seed seed inoculation when sowing with artificial microorganism cultures. It is true that in the past it was customary to “lay down” the land, that is to bring part of the ground of the funds in which it had been cultivated on the previous year, in soils where it had to be cultivated. This has allowed the almost capillary diffusion of the rhizome microorganisms, and it is very difficult in southern Italy to find soils with no microorganisms.
It is interesting to know that all leguminous forage plants have a great ability to nitrogenize in the soils and therefore can be an interesting cultivation alternative for the conversion of soils to biological production as well.
The olio produces only one cut in the second year, in the year of planting and after cutting only provides an excellent pasture. The product produces very watery vegetal material (about 80-85% water) and, as said, rather coarse: this makes hayling difficult, so it will be necessary to have special arrangements to collect this leguminous best.
The yields in hay are very variable, with averages ranging around 4-5 t / ha. The forage lends itself well to being silted and grazed. On average, a good hay on has the following composition:
S.S. 85%
Protein Raw 14-15% (Ss.) –
U.F. 0.56 per Kg of s.s. –
In Italy there are four varieties listed in the national seed register: “Grimaldi”, “Sparacia”, “Bellante” and “S. Homer”. In other countries with the latest introduction, genetic improvement programs have been launched which have already led to the creation of new varieties.

Uses and Traditions –
The first news on the French honeysuckle dates back to 1619 (Rostius), which describes it as a plant cultivated for ornamental purposes in the Europa Media, but of Spanish origin.
Among the peculiarities of this highly sought-after plant we remember that this is a species considered to be a great mellifera, so that the honey of the on is one of the most appreciated and known. Unfortunately, in the recent years, production areas are falling to the southern ones, whereas until recently it was present in larger areas of Italian territory. Honey today is produced almost exclusively in the hilly and mountainous areas of Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily. The color of the honey on it goes from almost white to straw yellow when it is liquid if instead it is crystallized the color is white beige wax. The honey on the crystallizes only a few months after the harvest forming a compact mass, pasty with fine grains. The smell of this honey is very tame, floral, slightly hay and the taste is sweet, slightly acidic.
The composition of the honey French honeysuckle is given by high quality fructose and large quantities of trace elements (magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese).
The French honeysuckle is an edulic plant and is also used in herbalist for the known astringent, vitaminizing and anti-cholesterol properties. For high protein value and tannin content, it is used to reduce gastrointestinal infections of grazing animals such as cattle or poultry. Herbicide is used in astringent preparations and as internal-cholesterol-lowering.

Preparation Method –
Certainly the use in honey French honeysuckle the kitchen is the most well known and appreciated part. Because of its delicate, balanced and non-invasive characteristics it is one of the honey used for the preparation of hard sprouts and is generally suitable for any kind of use. Some variations on the topic: Southern Italy may have the fruity aromatic trace of a citrus blossom.
Since the plant has good quality food, leaves and flowers are used in the kitchen, although not frequently, to enrich and enhance the salads and there is also a lack of information about the use of cooked meats, as well as other herbs, for omelets and soups. Also used is the use alone and then seasoned with oil and lemon or then used with scrambled eggs – or as food-medicine for its laxative and refreshing functions.
The best known is the use of the holding parts of the stem and the branches, decorticated, as snacks during walks or by peasants at work.
However in the kitchen the most common use is to use mixed leaves and flowers for mixed raw salads, which have nutritional properties, to prepare flan, omelettes and various soups.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, any responsibility for their use for the purpose of healing, aesthetics or food is refused.




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