Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 21, 2022

This miracle plant was eaten into extinction 2,000 years ago—or was it?

National Geographic reports

Silphion cured diseases and made food tasty, but Emperor Nero allegedly consumed the last stalk. Now, a Turkish researcher thinks he’s found a botanical survivor.

From before the rise of Athens to the height of the Roman Empire, one of the most sought-after products in the Mediterranean world was a golden-flowered plant called silphion. For ancient Greek physicians, silphion was a cure-all, prized for everything from stomach pain to wart removal. For Roman chefs, it was a culinary staple, crucial for spicing up an everyday pot of lentils or finishing an extravagant dish of scalded flamingo. During the reign of Julius Caesar, more than a thousand pounds of the plant was stockpiled alongside gold in Rome’s imperial treasuries, and silphion saplings were valued at the same price as silver.

Read more at This miracle plant was eaten into extinction 2,000 years ago—or was it?

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