Monday, April 27, 2015

Leopoldia Comosa at Rafal Vell.

I've been fruitlessly trying to find a deposit of fossil echinoids. I read a while ago it was near a farm called Rafal Vell. But I couldn't found a trace of it. No matter. It was a nice walk and I found many specimens of this pretty flower instead.

Acording to Wikipedia, Leopoldia comosa (syn. Muscari comosum) is a perennial bulbous plant. Usually called the Tassel Hyacinth, it is one of a number of species and genera also known as Grape Hyacinths. It is found in rocky ground and cultivated areas, such as cornfields and vineyards, in south-east Europe to Turkey and Iran, but has naturalized elsewhere. Other common names include Tufted Grape Hyacinth, Hairy Muscari and Edible Muscari.  

Described by Polunin as "a striking plant", it has a tuft of bright blue to violet-blue sterile flowers above brownish-green fertile flowers, which open from dark blue buds. It is this tuft which gives rise to the name "Tassel Hyacinth". The flower stem is 20–60 cm tall; individual flowers are borne on long stalks, purple in the case of the sterile upper flowers. Mature fertile flowers are 5–10 mm long with stalks of this length or more and are bell-shaped, opening at the mouth, where there are paler lobes. The linear leaves are 5–15 mm wide, with a central channel.

Illustration by Jacob Sturm. (1771-1848)

L. comosa naturalizes easily and may become invasive. It has spread northwards from its original distribution, for example appearing in the British Isles in the sixteenth century. The edible bulb is eaten in some Mediterranean countries, and under the name lampascioni inApulia and Basilicata, where it is grown for this purpose. In Greece and especially on Crete it is considered a real delicacy and collected in the wild. The cleaned bulbs are boiled several times, pickled and then kept in olive oil. I've never heard that anybody eat those bulbs in Menorca, but might try it one day.

No comments:

Post a Comment