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Tordylium apulum

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Tordylium apulum, commonly known as the Mediterranean hartwort,<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> is an annual forb or herb. It is classified within the family Apiaceae, the carrot family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia, but has been introduced to the United States, where it is now found only in Arizona.

Derivation of English Common Name

The name Hartwort, meaning ‘Deer plant’ is a scholarly coinage from the belief, first recorded by Aristotle that female deer sought out the leaves of the plant to eat, after giving birth.<ref>https://kopiaste.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/spaghetti-aglio-e-olio-with-spinach-courgettes-and-kafkalithres-and-myronia-pesto-σπαγγέτι-με-σκορδόλα/ Retrieved 10.22 on 16/8/18.</ref> If true, this observation might indicate medicinal or nutritive properties in the plant preventative of post-partum haemorrhage.

Description

The Mediterranean hartwort usually grows to 20-50 centimeters in height. It has an erect stem that is branched with soft, spreading hairs at the base, and scattered hairs along the rest of the stem. The leaves are softly hairy and pinnate, with the lower leaves being oval with toothed segments, and the upper leaves having linear segments. It has 2-8 primary rays. The marginal flowers each have 1 white petal, enlarged, and uniformly deeply 2-lobed. The bracts and bracteoles are linear long-pointed with spreading hairs. The fruit is orbicular and flattened, and usually is 5-8 millimeters in size.<ref>Schonfelder, Ingrid and Peter. Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean. Germany: Kosmos-Verlag, Stuttgart, 1990. Print</ref>

Habitat

Mediterranean hartwort is found as a weed of cultivation, on waste land, and by waysides. The plant is equally at home in sandy, loamy and clay soils. Hartworts may be found growing on acid, neutral and basic soils, but will not thrive in shade.<ref>Polunin, Oleg. A Field Guide to Flowers of Europe. London: Oxford University Press, 1969. Print.</ref>

Reproduction

The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.<ref>United States Department of Agriculture, “Tordylium apulum L., http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=TOAP2, 2009. Print.</ref>

Uses

The leaves of the plant are edible and are used as a potherb and salad vegetable in Greece<ref>https://www.kopiaste.org/2011/05/kagianas-me-kafkalithres-myronia-and-pasto-lakonias/ Retrieved 9.55 on 16/8/18.</ref>. In Italy it is used as a condiment. The essential oil composition of aerial parts of Tordylium apulum L. from Italy was analyzed. Sixty-seven compounds were identified representing 96.5% of the oil. The most abundant compounds were (E)-β-ocimene (17.3), α-humulene (11.4%) and octyl octanoate (8.8%). Essential oil from aerial parts of T. apulum from Greece was reported to have α-humulene (28.7%) and octyl hexanoate (11.7%) as the main constituents. There are no known medicinal uses for this plant.<ref>Tirillini, Brittany. “Essential Oil Composition of Tordylium apulum L. from Italy,” Journal of Essential Oil Research, Jan/Feb 2006. Print.</ref>

References

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