The Affodill, which is mainly native to the Mediterranean, is an asparagus-like plant that belongs to the family of the grass-tree family. In particular, the plant is easily recognizable by its size, which can reach up to one meter. To thrive, the Affodill generally prefers calcareous soils in the mountains. Hot and dry summer months do not bother him, because he survives these well.
Since the Affodill has very hard leaves and is avoided by cattle, he finds himself in heavily grazed meadows in a large number. The very sociable Affodill forms groups that can fill entire meadows. Especially in winter, they are served by bees as well as the endemic Canary earth bumblebees. However, as the plant is slightly poisonous, it is not suitable as a forage plant.
In a full sun and a loamy sandy soil, the perennial herbaceous plant can have a lifespan of ten years. It can reach stature heights of one to two meters and form a rhizome. This describes a shoot axis system that grows underground or just above the ground. The inflorescence of the Affodill is mostly branched. The long and narrow cover sheets are white or rarely tender pink. The strong flowers grow like grapes along the stem ends.
The stems are sprouting upwards. The flowering time of the spherical, dreifächrigen capsule fruit, which is about 10 to 15 millimeters long, is from May to August. In the summer, the plant's white flowers produce egg-shaped capsules containing the seeds. The aboveground plant parts die off towards the end of summer and the capsules gradually dry out, eventually bursting open and releasing the seeds. Underground tubers are formed to survive the summer season. In general, the Affodill is easy to care for and is rarely attacked by pests.
In antiquity, the starchy tubers of the plant were eaten and even in the pre-Greek tribes they were, before the cereal cultivation was introduced, an important food source. To remove the bitter substances, they were either cooked or roasted. Also for baking bread they are said to have been used in the mixed form with grain.
The Affodill is also used in other areas: The Affodill is suitable for alpinum, for perennial borders or for large-scale rockeries. It best comes into its own as a specimen plant, for example as a white-flowering large shrub in front of a conifer or other dark background. He can also be planted as a small group in the sandy bed. The Affodill is used in these cases as an ornamental plant.
Similarly, the plant is suitable as a single eye-catcher in a rock garden or in combination with lavender or herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. This uncomplicated plant thrives well even without watering and fertilizing. Appropriate seed is available commercially. The Affodill is usually winterproof and only needs protection in an unprotected place or in severe frost.
In the summer months, when the leaves of the plant wither, it consumes the moisture that it has collected in the thickened roots, but the flower stalks still stand upright. A possible pruning should take place in spring. In the industrial sector, the active ingredients of the root are used for the production of alcohol and for the production of adhesives. From the withered stems are also made beautiful windmills.
On the island of Corsica, the flowers are cut off with the stems of All Saints' Day, then soaked in olive oil to light them around the graves. The Affodill was in ancient times as a mourning plant and in southern Europe, he is a popular cemetery plant. The storage root is roasted and mixed, for example with figs, an ideal food.
The use as a medicinal plant has always been of great importance. The medicinal use in folk medicine finds the root in the dried state. These include hydroxyanthracene derivatives, for example asphodelin, lipids, triterpenes, mucilages and phytosterols. The fresh roots have a pungent taste and are made through the collection of wild resources.
The boiled roots of the Affodill help with indigestion and stomach ulcers. Since the plant should be avoided because of the toxicity as a food rather, it can rather complement a tea blend. In any case, a deliberate dosage is very important. In addition, the mashed tubers can be used to make an envelope for an envelope, which helps with external skin problems, inflammation and ulcers.
The dried roots are also used against water retention. Affodill has several therapeutic properties: dehydrating, diuretic and kidney-stimulating. However, due to the slight toxicity of the drug, use should always be careful. The inner application should be avoided and instead resort to other medicinal herbs.