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This is a stunning plant and comes into flower this month and then continues through into June. In Poitou-Charentes we are at the northern limit of its range. It extends down through France, Spain and is also present in North Africa in places like Morocco, Algeria Tunisia and Libya.Asphodel1

Its French names are somewhat predictable, they are L’Aspodele blanc, or Baton royal or Baton-blanc.

The plant has a rhizome under the ground, so it grows in the same place each year. It prefers shady, damp areas and it likes a calcareous soil, chalky. The place I see it most is the wooded area near Mauprevoir in Vienne, but it is common throughout the region, perhaps not so common in the very north of Poitou-Charentes.

Asphodel 1aaIt grows quite tall, over 100cm in height, after flowering the seeds develop and by mid summer the leaves are dying back and all you get is a tall stalk with knobbly black seed pods on top.

The rhizomes have been used in the past for various herbal cures. Along with hundreds of other plants they are supposed to ease menstrual pains, but who knows? I have also read that in ancient Persia the rhizomes were dried, ground up to a powder and then this could be mixed with cold water to make a strong glue.

Finally in many articles about this plant it states that in Barbary it is eaten by wild boar. Barbary is an old name for north Africa. In the woods near Mauprevoir there are lots of wild boar and lots of Asphodels so I don’t imagine the French wild boar eat them otherwise they would have long since disappeared. Perhaps in north Africa food is more scarce and the boar are forced to eat this in order to survive.

For other flowers of the month click the link below, last year it was Lords and Ladies and in 2012 it was Greater stichwort….


To identify other flowers from this region click…