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Botanical Name : Ferula communis
Species: F. communis
Synonyms : F. brevifolia. F. linkii. ,Ferula communis ‘Gigantea’
Common Names: Giant Fennel, Meeting seed
Habitat : Ferula communis is native to Europe – Mediterranean. It grows on dry hills, walls, waste ground and limestone, often in soils that are damp in the spring.
Ferula communis is a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is found in Mediterranean and East African woodlands and shrublands. It was known in antiquity as Laser or narthex.It has big, pinnately divided large leaves and compound umbels of small white, yellow or purple flowers; that may die after flowering.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Succeeds in most soils including dry ones according to one report whilst others say that it requires a deep moist fertile soil in a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant. This species is hardy to about -10°c, possibly lower if the rootstock is mulched in the winter. A very ornamental plant, though the flowers have a most unpleasant rancid smell. Plants are often monoecious. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance due to their long taproot. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible. The sub-species brevifolia is the form used for its gum.
Seed – best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.
Edible Parts: Leaves. & Gums
One report says that the root yields a gum with medicinal properties but no details are are found in internet.
Other Uses :
Furniture; Gum; Miscellany; Tinder.
A gum ‘Gum Ammoniac‘ is obtained by notching the root. It is used as an incense, it also has medicinal value. The stems are used in furniture making. The dried pith is used as a tinder, it burns very slowly inside the stem and can thus be carried from one place to another.
Known Hazards: In Sardinia two different chemotypes of Ferula communis have been identified: poisonous (especially to animals like sheep, goats, cattle, and horses) and not-poisonous. They differ for both secondary metabolites pattern and enzymatic composition.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.