Context: A Mediterranean medicinal plant considered a cure-all that mysteriously vanished 2,000 years ago may still be around, a recent study claimed.
- A researcher from Istanbul University found a plant species recently at three locations in Anatolia — modern-day Turkey, that resembled the ancient plant Silphion.
- There may be waterlogged remains of ancient Silphion on the Mediterranean seafloor, which could provide direct evidence of the nature of this elusive plant
Ancient Usage of Silphion:
- The resin of the Silphion was extensively used as a spice, perfume, aphrodisiac, contraceptive and medicine.
- It occupied an important place in the export economy of ancient Cyrene, an old Greek and later Roman colony near north-eastern Libya.
Silphion was used to treat various health problems:
- goitre, sciatica (nerve pain), toothache, intestinal disorders, hormonal disorders, epilepsy, tetanus, polyps (abnormal growth of tissues) and malignant tumours.
- Its stalks were eaten as a vegetable, while the roots were consumed raw.
- The plant was also used to preserve lentils.
Causes of extinction of Silphion:
- Human-induced environmental changes
- Widespread deforestation and desertification
- These plants may need cold and moist conditions for seed germination.
- This is because the plants related to Silphion, such as Ferula drudeana and Ferula asafoetida, also need similar environmental conditions for seeds to germinate
- An increase in temperature might have increased evaporation, leading to unfavourable conditions.
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) Which of the following are nitrogen-fixing plants? (2022)
- Purslane (Kulfa)
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1, 3 and 4 only
- 1, 3, 5 and 6 only
- 2, 4, 5 and 6 only
- 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6
Q.2) Recently, there was a growing awareness in our country about the importance of Himalayan nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) because it is found to be a sustainable source of (2019)
- anti-malarial drug
- pulp for the paper industry
- textile fibre