Herbs-Treat and Taste is about herbs and spices and their uses in medicine and cookery.We give recipes and information which enable people to have a healthier diet which can prevent certain illnesses and alleviate symptoms such as a cough, sore throat etc.There is information on different herbs,their history ,what other people think or thought about them and what we think.
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CALLA LILY ( ARUM LILY ) - SYMBOL OF MAGNIFICENT BEAUTY: USES AND BENEFITS OF CALLA LILY
The name lily still stays with this beautiful flower, despite the fact that it is not, in fact a true lily. It was first classified botanically by Linnaeus the Swedish botanist in 1753, as Calla aethiopica in thelily family, but the error was corrected in 1826 by Sprengel who renamed it Zantedeschia and placed it in a genus of its own. It is believed that he named it in honour of the Italian botanist of that name, Giovanni Zantedeschia, who lived during the early 19th century. It was named aethiopica because it was native to southern Africa. It is in the Araceae family of plants. They come in a wide range of colours and include the yellow Calla or Arum lily, a purple-black variety and even the one named the Green Goddess. It is a relative of the Flame Lily, gloriosasuperba.
As a child I was fascinated by this plant which grew in a neighbour’s garden, but I thought then that it was simply a garden variety of the wildcuckoo pint.
Its parts are toxic and will cause burning to the mouth, tongue and lips if ingested as it contains calcium oxalic crystals. It can also cause vomiting and can make it difficult to swallow.Young children should be kept away from it, although they are fascinated, as I was, by the flowers. Cats also like to play with it and it is toxic to them too. The only edible part is the rhizome.
Despite this, the old Physicians of Myddfai found a use for it; to treat burns and scalds; here is their remedy: -
"Put the leaves of the lily, in boiling milk, and apply to the part till it is well."
In southern Africa, where it is indigenous and grows wild, the leaves and rhizomes are used in traditional medicine in dressing for sores and wounds, and in oral preparations for a variety of ailments.
In Afrikaans this plant is called Varkoor which means pig’s ear. It thrives in the humidity of Madagascar, and can bloom all year if it has enough nutrients and water. It likes to live in shallow water or in moist soil, but failing that, needs rich soil and shade. The British Royal Horticultural Society has given it their Award of Garden Merit, which means that they recommend it to gardeners. It has become naturalized in all parts of the world and is considered invasive in Western Australia.
The Romans believed that this plant was a symbol of lust and sexuality, no doubt due to its phallic stalks and the yellow spadix in the centre of the flower. They used it in the winter solstice and forced its growth indoors so that it would bloom at this time. In contrast, for early Christians the flower was a symbol of purity and chastity, and although it used to be associated with funerals (so in Wales it was considered bad luck to grow it in gardens, which was why I had only seen the one plant) it is now associated with weddings and can frequently be seen in bridal bouquets and in churches etc. It is also associated with the sixth wedding anniversary for some reason (the one before the seven-year-itch) perhaps because the husband may still think of his spouse as a magnificent beauty, which is what it symbolizes in the language of flowers.
It is also a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, perhaps because in the Northern hemisphere at least it usually blooms around Easter time, and this is also why it is known as the Easter Lily. It was also planted on the graves of young people and children who had died an untimely death.
This elegant flower is usually put into a single tall stem vase as its simplicity is its beauty. It needs no foliage to set it off. It has been painted by artists throughout history because it really is a magnificent beauty.