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Chap. 037. Of Marsh or Wild Asphodel.

Botanical name:

Lancashire Asphodil. I. The Names. It is called in Greek, 'ΑσϕοδελΟ ελωδης': in Latin, Asphodelus Paluster, Pseudo-asphodelus Luteus: in English, Marsh Asphodel, Wild or Bastard Asphodel, and Bastard yellow Asphodel, and Lancashire Asphodel.

II. The Kinds. There are two special Kinds hereof,

  • 1. Pseudoasphodelus major, Asphodelus Lancastriæ, the greater Marsh, Wild, or Bastard Asphodel, Lancashire Asphodel.
  • 2. Pseudoasphodelus minor, Asphodelus Lancastriæ verus, the lesser Marsh, Wild or Bastard Asphodel, the true Lancashire Asphodel.

III. The Descriptions. The first of these has a Root long and Jointed, creeping as Grass does, with many Fibres thereat, from whence rise up several long and narrow Leaves, like unto Corn Flag, but not so stiff or hard, of a beautiful green Color, and somwhat Chamfered, furrowed or straked down right, yet compassing one another, as the Corn Flag and Flower de luces do at the bottom, among which rises up a Stalk about a Foot and a half high, with divers short Leaves enclosing the Stalk, as it were hosed at their bottoms; and at the tops stand several yellow Flowers, as it were in a spiked Head, each of them made of six Leaves a piece, as are those of the other Asphodels; in the midst of which come forth several small Threads or Chives; which being past, there comes Seed in somewhat long and square pointed husks or Cods, which Seed is very small and blackish.

IV. The Lesser Kind, has a Root which consists of a few whitish long Fibres, not creeping far, or much, but increasing into sundry Heads, from whence spring forth many smooth green Leaves, narrower, shorter, and fresher than the former, (Gerard says, two Inches and a half or three Inches long, somewhat broad at the bottom and sharper towards their ends) not much unlike to a narrow Flower de luce, but neither so hard nor so thick; from among which Leaves rises up a Stalk, which scarcely attains to be a Foot high, having very few small Leaves thereon, (Gerard says it is smooth and without any Leaves thereon;) towards the top whereof, in a spiked Head comes forth small Flowers, of a paler yellow than the former, and of a pretty Star like fashion, which being gon, there succeeds small three square reddish Husks, or longish little Cods, which, Gerard says, are sometimes four or five Square, and in which is contained small reddish brown Seed.

V. The Places. They are both found Wild in England, as well as in other places beyond Sea, in Marsh and Wet Grounds: the first near Lancaster, in the Moorish Grounds there, as also near unto Mandsley, and Marton, two Villages not far from thence; as also at the Foot of Bagshot Hill in the West of England, near to a Village of the same Name. The second grows near Egham, not far from the River side there, and in many other places, in the West of England.

VI. The Times. They Flower in May, June, and July; and the Seed is ripe, about a Month after the Flowers are gon: most of their Leaves remain green in the Winter Time, if it is not extream cold and hard weather.

VII. The Qualities. They are hot and dry in the second Degree; Inciding, Attenuating, Aperitive, Abstersive and Diuretick: Dedicated to the Lungs, Reins, Womb, and Joynts.

VIII. The Specification. There has been nothing in a constant Observation, to which they can be said to be peculiar; Authors having as to their Virtues been silent.

IX. The Preparations. You may make from the Roots,

  • 1. A Decoction.
  • 2. A Juice.
  • 3. An Essence.
  • 4. A Syrup.
  • 5. An Ointment.
  • 6. A Balsam.
  • 7. A Cataplasm.
  • 8. A Saline Tincture.

The Virtues.

X. Altho' Authors have said nothing of the Vertues of these Plants; yet, by their Tastes, and other Signatures, they seem to have the Virtues of the Garden Asphodels possibly not so Potent and Efficacious: I have made several tryalls of them, and have found the Decoction to open obstructions of the Lungs and provoke Urine. With the Juice given to ij. ounces for some days in White Wine, I once provoked the Courses in a Woman where they were obstructed: and with the Syrup and Essence, I have cured some that have had extream Colds. The Balsam I know to be a good Vulnerary, and the Ointment is very discussive and resolutive, and good against the Gout. The Saline Tincture provokes Urine, and clears the Reins and Urinary Passages of Sand, Gravel, Slime and Tartarous Matter, given to ij. drams in White Wine: the other Preparations I have not much used but this last, (as it is the easiest made) I have oftentimes proved, and that with good Succes.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Lisa Haller / Nick Jones.



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