Asphodeline lutea Reichb. Liliaceae. Asphodel. Jacob's Rod. King's Spear.
Region of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus. This plant is mentioned as covering large tracts of land in Apulia and as being abundant in Sicily. It was fabled to grow in the Elysian fields, and hence the ancient Greeks were wont to place asphodel on the tombs of their friends. The root is mentioned as an esculent by Pythagoras. Pliny says the roots of asphodel were generally roasted under embers and then eaten with salt and oil and when mashed with figs were thought a most excellent dish. Phillips, exercising some imagination, says: "Asphodel was to the ancient Greeks and Romans what the potato now is to us, a bread plant, the value of which cannot be too highly estimated. It has long since given way to its successors in favor."