Alimurgical plants

Alimurgical plants

The term alimurgia means the science that studies and recognizes the food characteristics of some wild plants that are edible, which were once used and consumed especially in times of famine or simply for health purposes and which today, in modern agroecology, can represent a interesting integration not only of food but of corporate biodiversity.
The presence of these plants, no longer possibly disturbed by the use of pesticides and by techniques of exaggerated crop specialization, can prove interesting for a rebalancing of agricultural ecosystems and human and animal food systems.
The term alimurgia was coined by the Florentine doctor and naturalist Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti (1712-1783) in the Defood urgentia treatise (1767), a work that dealt with the possibility of facing famines, resorting to the use of spontaneous products of the earth and mainly some vegetables.
It is thus interesting to hypothesize a redesign of agricultural ecosystems by integrating with them spontaneous elements of vegetation that integrate with the crop systems without depriving them of their productive potential; rather assisting it with agro-ecological integrations of interesting functionality
The edible or edible parts of alimurgical plants, like those of large agri-food consumption, can be different: leaves, stem, shoots, flowers, roots, tubers, bulbs and berries.
In the list below we will indicate the main alimurgical plants, with their scientific name, the ordinary or widely used name, and the edible parts.

Achillea ligustica All. – Ligurian yarrow – flowers and tender leaves
Ajuga reptans L., 1753 – Common Bugle – tender leaves
Alliaria petiolata (M.Bieb) Cavara & Grande – Garlic mustard – flowers, fruits and seeds
Allium neapolitanum Cirillo – Neapolitan garlic – bulbs
Allium porrum L. – Wild leek – bulbs and underground white part of the leaves
Allium subhirsutum L. – Hairy garlic – bulbils
Allium ursinum L. – Wild garlic – bulbils
Aloysia citriodora Palau – Lemon verbena – leaves
Amaranthus retroflexus L.- Red-root amaranth – tender stem and leaves
Arctium lappa L. – Greater Burdock – leaves, roots and seeds
Asparagus acutifolius L. – Wild asparagus – shoots
Asphodeline lutea (L.) Rchb. – king’s spear – tender part of the stems
Asphodelus ramosus L. – Asphodel – enlarged roots and stems
Beta vulgaris L. – Beet – tender leaves and buds
Borago officinalis L. – Borage – leaves
Brassica fruticulosa Cirillo, 1792 – Shrub cabbage – leaves
Brassica oleracea L. – Cabbage – fresh leaves, tender buds, inflorescences
Calendula officinalis L. – Pot marigold – flowers
Campanula trachelium L. – Nettle-leaved bellflower – Leaves and roots
Capparis spinosa L. – Caper – buds, tender buds, fruit
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. 1792 – Shepherd’s purse – leaves
Centranthus ruber (L.) DC. – Red Valerian – tender tops and roots
Chenopodium album L. – Lamb’s quarters – leaves, tops and seeds
Chenopodium bonus-henricus L. – Blitum bonus-henricus – leaves, rhizome, floral shoots, seeds
Cichorium intybus L. – Common chicory – leaves, roots
Clinopodium nepeta (L.) Kuntze, 1891 – Lesser calamint – stem with leaves and flowers
Crataegus monogyna Jacq., 1775 – Common hawthorn – fruits
Crithmum maritimum L. – Sea fennel – Tender leaves and young shoots
Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC. – Perennial wall-rocket – leaves
Dioscorea communis (L.) Caddick & Wilkin, 2002 – Black bryony – soft shoots
Equisetum arvense L. – Horsetail – buds
Foeniculum vulgare Mill. – Fennel – fresh leaves, roots, fruits and seeds.
Galinsoga ciliata (Rafin.) S.F.Blake, 1922 – Shaggy Soldier – tender stems and leaves
Geum urbanum L. – Wood Avens – roots and tender leaves
Kundmannia sicula (L.) DC. – Kundmannia – leaves
Laurus nobilis L. – Laurel – leaves and fruits
Leopoldia comosa (L.) Parl. – Tassel hyacinth – bulbs
Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv. – Sweet alyssum – leaves and tender tops
Loncomelos pyrenaicus (L.) L.D. Hrouda – Wild asparagus – turions
Malva sylvestris L. – Common mallow – roots, leaves and flowers
Matricaria chamomilla L. – Chamomile – flowers
Mentha spicata L. – Spearmint – folgie and tops
Mycelis muralis (L.) Dumort. – Wall lettuce – tender leaves
Myrtus communis L. – Myrtle – leaves, fruits and twigs
Onopordum illyricum L., 1753 – Illyrian thistle – torso
Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill., 1768 – Prickly pear – flowers, fruits, pulp of the young blades
Origanum heracleoticum L. – Southern oregano – leaves, flowering tops
Oxalis pes-caprae L. – Bermuda buttercup – leaves, stems and bulbs
Papaver rhoeas L. – Common poppy – leaves, seeds and petals
Parietaria judaica, L. 1753 – Pellitory-of-the-wall – tender tops
Parietaria officinalis L. – Eastern pellitory-of-the-wall – leaves
Petasites hybridus (L.) G. Gaertn., B. Mey. & Scherb., 1801 – Butterbur – greater petioles tender leaves
Plantago lanceolata L. – Ribwort plantain – leaves
Portulaca oleracea L. – Pursley – leaves
Poterium sanguisorba L. – Salad burnet – tender leaves
Primula veris L. – Cowslip – leaflets, buds
Prunella vulgaris L. – Prunella – the whole plant excluding the roots
Pyracantha coccinea M. Roem. – Scarlet Firethorn – fruits
Raphanus raphanistrum L. – Wild radish – leaf tops and core
Reichardia picroides (L.) Roth, 1787 – Common brighteyes – leaves and roots
Rosa canina L. – dog rose – fruits and buds
Rosmarinus officinalis L. – Rosemary – flowering plant and leaves
Rubus ulmifolius Schott, 1818 – Bramble – leaves, young shoots and fruits
Ruscus aculeatus L. – Butcher’s broom – rhizome and roots (autumn), leaves
Salvia officinalis L. – Common sage – leaves
Scolymus grandiflorus Desf., 1799 – Yellow thistle – leaves, roots and stem
Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke – Bladder campion – leaves
Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., 1791 – Milk thistle – leaves, roots and seeds
Sinapis arvensis L. – Charlock mustard – seeds and leaves
Smyrnium olusatrum L. – Alexanders – young shoots, tender leaves, floral umbels, roots and seeds
Sonchus oleraceus L. – Smooth Sowthistle – leaves, flowers and roots
Stellaria neglecta Weihe – Greater chickweed – Tender tops
Symphytum bulbosum K. F. Schimp. – Bulbous comfrey – leaves and tender shoots
Taraxacum officinale, Weber ex F.H. Wigg. 1780 – Common dandelion – leaves, buds, roots
Tanacetum balsamita L. – Costmary – leaves
Thymus vulgaris L. – Common thyme – leaves and buds
Tordylium apulum L. – Mediterranean hartwort – tender leaves
Umbilicus horizontalis (Guss.) DC. – Horizontal navelwort – tender basal leaves
Urospermum dalechampii (L.) Schmidt, 1795 – Smooth golden fleece – tender leaves and buds
Urtica dioica L. – Nettle – buds, leaves
Viola odorata L. – Wood violet – leaves, flowers and rhizomes

Guido Bissanti

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