An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Asphodelus ramosus

Asphodelus ramosus

The Asphodelus ramosus L. of the family Liliaceae is a plant that includes several herbaceous species, known generically by the common name of asphodel. The name derives from the greek ἀσφόδελος (asphódelos).

Systematic –
L ‘Asphodelus ramosus is a plant belonging to the Domain Eukaryota, the Kingdom Plantae, Division Magnoliophyta, Class Liliopsida, Liliales Order, the Liliaceae family, to the genus Asphodelus.
Given the similarity with other species of Geenere you can confuse it with the greater Asphodel Asphodelus cerasiferus J. Gay, 50-150 cm plant with simple branching, undeveloped; tepals with more filaments base cuneate and capsule fruitful 15-20 mm ± spherical, crushed on top, with valve robust margins revolute outwards, each with 7-8 wrinkles. The capsule characters used to distinguish the two species, but nevertheless not always easy to determine.

Etymology –
The genus name comes from the ancient greek name of this plant “ἀσφοδελος asphodelos” composed of “α” no, no and “σφάλλω sphállo” fall falter: that does not waver that endures. According Pignatti instead, the name derives from “α” alpha privative, “σποδός spodós” ash and “ἔλος elos” valley, lowland or valley of what has not been reduced to ashes and would relate to particular ecology of these plants. But it does not look convincing the passage of the consonant “p” (greek pi π) to the “ph” (fi φ). The specific name, indicates the presence of a number of branches in the flowering stem.
The asphodel common names ranging from porraccio, cadrilloni, vruzza, cipuddazzo, avuzz, avrusc, etc ..

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
It grows from sea to mountains up to 1200 m .: s.l.m uncultivated, in the garrigue, in the arid pastures and stony ground. Its presence is environmental degradation index. Often associated with Asphodeline lutea (L.) Rchb.
The natural distribution of Asphodelus typically has a main center around the Mediterranean basin (southern Europe and North Africa including the Canary Islands); reports they would expand in Asia to China.
The asphodel was introduced and has also naturalized in parts of North America.

Description –
L ‘Asphodelus ramosus is a perennial plant, erect, 50-100 cm, equipped with a rhizomatous root system, consisting of numerous small irregular fusiform tubers and a robust central cylindrical stem, devoid of leaves, from which branch out many lateral branches in the upper half.
The leaves, all basal, depart from the underground rhizome, 2-4 cm wide and long up to 70 cm, are ribbon, entire, leathery, glabrous totally flattened triangular section, slightly keeled.
The dell’asfodelo leaves are in the form of a rosette of large leaves radicals, narrow and linear, with the pointed end.
From the center of the rosette emerges a bare stem which carries an ear of more or less branched flowers depending on the species. The spike is usually a meter or more.
The numerous flowers are distributed on a pyramidal inflorescence racemosa, with a stalk of 5-7 mm, located at the axil of bracts ± reddened, long as the pedicle.
The flowers begin to bloom from the bottom at the beginning of March, being very hardy plant and resistant to adverse weather conditions, the bloom lasts throughout March and mid-April and beautify the landscape around very, very often visited by bees especially if c ‘it is scarcity of other flowers due to weather conditions that do not follow the seasonal pattern.
The white corollas with a central reddish streaks are formed by 6 free and fleshy tepals. The stamens, provided with white filaments of 10-15 mm with anthers orange, exceeding tepals and fit on a bearing that surrounds the ovary unique subsferico, with stylus little longer than the stamens and a swollen end stigma. The flowers are bi-sexual pollination is entomophilous.
Seafood obvoidi capsules or subsferiche of 5-8 mm dehiscent, formed by valve 3 slender, elliptical, a flat margins, each carrier from 2-7 wrinkles containing different blacks seeds.
The root is edible.

Cultivation –
Many daffodils are perennial, but there are annual and biennial varieties. The plant multiplies only through the roots, the seeds are infertile.
In the cultivation of ‘Asphodelus ramosus (like the other species) we have to consider that in order for the plant reaches its maximum force it takes about 2-5 years. The species is characterized by the type of deciduous leaves. The cultivation can be made at: informal garden, gravel garden, Mediterranean garden, jar or container, landscaped garden, terrace or patio, rock garden, lawn or in the field, flower garden, country garden, coastal garden, garden sub- tropical.
The most favorable soil for the development dell’Asphodelus are of chalk, grease, sand and clay. The medium may have a pH: acid, alkaline and neutral.
The position with respect to the light can be in full sun, half shadow, shadow.
The Asphodelus ramosus is a plant that adapts well to many different development conditions therefore does not require constant care.

Customs and Traditions –
The Asphodel has a long folk tradition. The tubercles, used since ancient times, are edible and have been used as food during famines and the First World War. The active ingredients contained therein are carbohydrates, also suitable for baking, glucosides and small amounts of alkaloids, which are not safe for therapeutic use for internal use.
Applied in cosmetics, such as topical emollient, refreshing and decongestant for irritated skin, to lighten freckles, for rashes and sunburn. It seems that the plant extracts are soothing for the damage caused by psoriasis.
In the past it was also used as a diuretic and catarrh. The charcoal obtained from plant stems has absorbent properties useful in toxicological therapies.
In animal husbandry, the tubers mixed with honey were used to treat dermo-abrasion and to soothe the wounds.
In Sardinia is implemented by remote processing times, through interweaving, of the facts baskets with dell’asfodelo leaves. This characteristic has helped craft for a long time to balance the modest incomes of the families of shepherds and farmers. The art of weaving has been preserved and passed down secretly in every family from mother to daughter. It was hard work that required considerable labor for the collection and processing of the material, soaked in streams to soften it, and spread to dry in the farmyards and in the end the patient and skillful interweaving of work to produce fine baskets for various uses.
The fresh leaves are used in the production of typical regional cheeses; It seems to be also useful to keep mosquitoes away.
By mixing the powder of the tubers with boiling water you are obtained a durable adhesive and natural.
The Asfodeli are called stick of St. Joseph, as tradition has it that in choosing a husband for Maria’s advice Temple looked for a sign from God: the man whose stick would blossom would be the husband of the girl. St. Joseph carried a stick asphodel and this flourished, a sign that the Lord chose him to be placed opposite Maria.
This plant is cited in the 1st book in the Harry Potter saga. The asphodel powder poured into an infusion of wormwood in the novel originates a sleeping potion so powerful that go under the name of “distillation of living death.”
There are numerous works that mention the Asphodel.
For the ancient Greeks the Kingdom of the Dead was divided into three parts: Tartarus for the wicked, the Champs Elysees for good, and finally the asphodel meadows for those who in life had been neither good nor bad. For all these beliefs, and still others, the Greeks used to plant daffodils on the graves, considering the fields of asphodel Hades. An example perhaps no accident we have it in Cape Miseno.
Epimenides, considered by some one of the seven wise men, he used the asphodel (and purple) for its ability to ward off hunger and thirst. There Plutarch speaks in “Feast of the seven wise men.” Legend has it that Epimenides through the use of roots and herbs did not need to eat, and that he lived 157 years, he tells us about Diogene Laerzio.
Theophrastus, in his “research on plants,” says that the roots of asphodel are edible.
The daffodils are cited, among other things, also in praise of folly by Erasmo da Rotterdam which plant does not present where she (madness) would be born (par. 8. Place of birth of madness).
For the ancient Greeks and Romans so it was a sacred flower, associated with the resurrection and Homer in the Odyssey talks about it; was considered the favorite food of the dead, for this was the symbol of the dead and was used to adorn the graves; even today in some countries of the Mediterranean is the symbol of the dead.
In Corsica, it is customary, on All Saints day, soak the branches dell’Asphodelus ramosus in olive oil and place them as small oil lamps in front of the graves of loved ones, a sign of devotion.
In general, the cattle and sheep refuse this plant, in fact, the continued consumption of leaves by sheep determines a particular disease, which causes paralysis, and convulsions.
Frequently, in the spring, they riscontrono underlying dell’Asphodelo leaves whitish masses similar to saliva. It ‘a substance produced from a larva (the sputacchina) Philaemus leucophthalmus froghoppers of the family. The newly hatched nymphs are covered with this substance, produced by the secretion of glands located in the abdomen and suck sap from the plant, to prevent dehydration and eventual capture by predators.
In Europe it is part of the protected plants.
The stem yellow asphodel is an ancient food that Apulian elderly still capture before they blossom flower and once scalded with water and vinegar preserved in oil. One of those flavors that is slowly disappearing.
The leaves are still used for manufacturing a dairy product typical of Puglia, the “burrata”.
In Sardinia it is used for the production of honey with a delicate flavor, to be savored alone to seize the unique features. In some parts of Sicily yellow asphodel stalks are harvested, stripped of the outer leaves, cut in half and cooked with a sauce or omelets. During World War II the plant in southern Italy formed a good nutritional support for those who had food shortages.
In some parts of Sardinia, the dell’asfodelo rod is used for the creation of valuable long handcrafted baskets used for making bread. These baskets were once indispensable part of the outfit of the bride before the wedding. The traditional machining dell’asfodelo is particularly important in the municipalities of Ollolai (where there is also a museum dedicated to the processing of this plant), Tinnura and Flussio.

Preparation Mode –
The plant contains harmful alkaloids, so it is consumed after cooking. The parts used are the swollen roots and stems. In ancient times, as mentioned, the plants were used for straw, in Apulia is used in the preparation of the famous “burrata”, the typical dairy product of the Andria area.
In the kitchen, the tubercles are eaten boiled, seasoned with olive oil and salt, roasted under the ashes like potatoes.
The dell’asfodelo stems should be collected very small, so that they remain tenerissimi; They are boiled in water and vinegar, put up in glass jars and covered in olive oil, such as asparagus. Or decorticando the stems and bark using breaded and fried and the stems are cooked after being sectioned, longitudinal cutting them crosswise cuts.
In external use the tubercles may be used in decoctions for dermatitis and sunburn. Apply with gauze soaked in the decoction on the parties concerned (only to unbroken skin).
To lighten freckles is pounding and reduce pulp fresh tubercles, are applied to the skin of the affected areas with a light rubbing.

Guido Bissanti

– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Please note: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgici uses are indicated for information purposes only, do not represent in any way a medical prescription; it accepts no liability on their use for therapeutic purposes, cosmetic or food.

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