One more Sunday is here as well as one more post with the #showcasesunday tag, an idea of @nonameslefttouse meant to revive old posts. I wrote this one in the fall of 2018 and I really feel it deserves a little more attention.
So, here we go, hope you like it!
The other day I was walking with my dog on the mountain, just above the village I live, when I noticed a plethora of beautiful white flowers. I was familiar with the plant but I have never saw a spectacle like this! So I started my little research :)
It's scientific name is "Urginea maritima" but it has many common names.
Drimia maritima (syn. Urginea maritima) is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae (formerly the family Hyacinthaceae). This species is known by several common names, including squill, sea squill, sea onion, and maritime squill. It may also be called red squill, particularly a form which produces red-tinged flowers instead of white. It is native to southern Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa.
In Crete we call it "askeletoura" but I have found 9 different Greek names for this miraculous plant! The reason that I haven't noticed it the past 5 years that I am living here, is because it doesn't blossom every year nor in the same way! As a matter of fact the farmers used to observe it, in order to predict the weather! The excessive amount of flowers that I have seen, is supposed to signify a lot of rain in the winter. I cross my fingers it really does since the past 3 years the rain here was minimum and eastern Crete is getting into a critical stage of drought.
It is an amazing plant that flourishes out of the dry land with absolute lack of water. In fact if you water it, it won't blossom! In the popular tradition it is a good luck charm that people used to hung on their door on new-year's eve.
It is also a very powerful medicine and poison that is known from the ancient years. It is mentioned in one of the oldest Egyptian medical texts dating in the 16th century bc. The ancient Greeks where using it to treat icterus, asthma and spasms. In order to take advantage of its diuretic, expectorant and laxative properties they were making a solution with vinegar while they were using the skin of the bulb to treat heart disorders.
Some of the elderly are recalling using the stick of the plant, crushed and mixed with honey, to treat hard skin on feet and the bulb crushed and mixed with olive oil to treat sciatica (nerve pain in hip and leg). In both cases the mixture was used externally. It was also used to treat bronchitis and pulmonary disorders but no one could remember how. They warned me though, to be very careful with the bulb since they were using it as rat poison!
Nowadays there are companies that use it as a healing agent at their products (soap, shampoo and lotion) against hair loss, acne and pimple. I am afraid, though, that all the old and ancient recipes for this remarkable natural medicine are gone forever.
If you are familiar with that plant and you are using it in your country, please let me know in the comments, below.
I don't know if you have read the whole text or you just looked at the pictures but if you did you might find also interesting the update that I wrote 5 months later to confirm that indeed, as the flower predicted, the following months the rainfall in Crete was the largest for decades and we even experienced the unpleasant record of torrential rainfall and flooding!
Deserves to be called the weather plant, isn't it?
Thank you for reading and if you want to know more about me you can check out my introduction post.
Commenting, upvoting and resteeming are highly appreciated!