Thursday, 15 May 2008

What's in a name?

Anagyris foetida L.

Bean Trefoil, Stinkstaur

Description: A small tree, 1-4 m in height with an unpleasant smell and yellow wood. Leaves 3-7cm, with trifoliate, stalkless leaflets, elliptic to lanceolate, smooth on upper surface, covered with pliant hairs on the underside. Papilionaceous flowers, large yellow, in short racemes of a few flowers only, with a standard petal 10-15 mm which bears a black blotch, and wings up to 20mm. Calyx bell shaped, hairy, with 5 teeth. Pod (legume) 12–20mm, asymmetrical with 3–8 large, reniform (kidney shaped) seeds, violet in colour.

Habitat: Edges of roads and fields, dry, limestone slopes.

Properties, Use: Poisonous! The legumes (seed pods), which resemble those of beans have deceived a large number of children who have been poisoned! The plant was once used as an emetic and purgative. According to Cretan tradition, Judas was hanged from its branches and for that reason it is worthy of contempt.

From: “Healing, aromatic and edible plants of Crete.”

Antonis Alibertis.

Mystis Publications, Heraklion

Why is it included in this blog?

Because the Greek version of the book doesn’t give the English name, Bean Trefoil, but rather gives the gives the plant its common Cretan name:


1 comment:


i see you love your village very much. i stayed in azogires for a few days three years ago in a friend's house. i also worked in paleohora for three years (10 years ago) as an english teacher. one of my former paleohora students is now my son's teacher! i like your work very much - i hope you will be able to understand why when you see my blog: