Eryngium campestre

Eryngium campestre

The Field eryngo (Eryngium campestre L.) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Apiaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Order Apiales,
Apiaceae family,
Genus Eryngium,
E. campestre species.

Etymology –
The term Eryngium comes from the Latin eryngium, in turn from the Greek ηρύγγιον erínghion thistle in Theophrastus (from ἔρύγγος éryngos beard bow, marine eringio or marine calcatreppola).
The specific rural epithet comes from campus, flat place, field: which therefore grows in the fields.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Field eryngo is a plant widespread in central and southern Europe, including Great Britain, from northern Germany to North Africa and Afghanistan.
It is an entity with a range centered on the Mediterranean coasts, but with extensions to the north and east (area of ​​the Vine).
Its habitat is that of fields, garrigues, road margins and stony places, at altitudes between 0-1600 meters above sea level. It often grows in association with Pleurotus eryngii
Present throughout Italy.

Description –
Eryngium campestre is a thorny perennial herb plant growing up to 60 cm in height.
It has very branched stems in the apical part of green-gray color.
The leaves are leathery with very evident reticulated ribbons; the basal ones have a petiole about 20 cm long with ovate or triangular edges and have 3 incisions that go from the margin to the median nerve (triset) with the central penninervium segment divided into 7-9 opposite segments which in turn are further divided into toothed lobes and thorny, the thorns are not present on the petioles. The cauline leaves are sessile and have a winged petiole.
The inflorescence is a pleiocase with subspherical or globose flower heads with longer and linear bracts, rigid and patent, the bracts are one in number per flower ending in an elongated and rigid tip, the sepals are linear-lanceolate, cuspidate, rigid and hairless without membranous margins.
Its flowering period is between the months of May and September, depending on the latitude and altitude of growth.
The schizocarpic fruit is a Polachenary (diachene) obovate with two mericarps of about 2.5-2 mm, densely covered with lanceolate scales of about 1 mm.

Cultivation –
Field eryngo is a plant that requires well-drained soil and a sunny position. It prefers light sandy soil, but tolerates most soil types, including limestone and poor ones.
The plant has deep, wide-ranging roots, can spread freely in the garden, and can become difficult to weed out.
Plants should be put in their final location while small as they are affected by transplanting.
It can be propagated by seed and is best sown as soon as the seed is ripe, in early autumn, on the surface of well-drained soil in a cold greenhouse. The seed can also be sown in spring directly in the open field, after the last frosts. It usually germinates in 5 – 90 days at 20 ° C.
It can also be propagated by division in early spring or fall or through root cuttings in fall or winter.
It has hermaphroditic flowers and pollination occurs through bees, flies, and beetles.

Customs and Traditions –
The Field eryngo, also known by the names of Eringio campestre, Bocca di donkey is a plant that, in addition to growing spontaneously, is often used in dried floral compositions as it retains its color for a long time.
The plant has medicinal properties and can be used as an antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, galactofuge, stimulant.
Due to its properties it is harvested in nature for local use, both as a food and as a medicine.
The root promotes expectoration and is very useful in treating weakness following chronic cough in advanced stages of lung problems.
Infusions can be drunk freely and used to treat pertussis, liver and kidney disease, and skin disorders.

Method of Preparation –
Eryngium campestre, for its uses, should be harvested in autumn from plants that are at least 2 years old.
Among the edible uses we remember that one can use young shoots cooked as a substitute for asparagus.
The cooked root can be eaten as a vegetable or candied and used as a dessert.
It is easily digested.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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