Vincetoxicum hirundinaria

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Vincetoxicum hirundinaria
Vincetoxicum hirundinaria sl3.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Vincetoxicum
Species: V. hirundinaria
Medik.
Binomial name
Vincetoxicum hirundinaria
Synonyms

Asclepias vincetoxicum L.
Cynanchum vincetoxicum (L.) Pers.[1]

Vincetoxicum hirundinaria, commonly named white swallow-wort, is a long-lived herbaceous perennial of the genus Vincetoxicum in the family Apocynaceae.

Etymology[edit]

The generic name Vincetoxicum, in Latin meaning ‘conqueror of poison’, derives from the traditional use of this plant has as an antidote to poisons. [2] The Latin species name hirundinaria (from hirundo, meaning swallow) and the common name white swallow-wort refer to its seedpods, that are reminiscent of a swallow's wing, or tail.

Description[edit]

Vincetoxicum hirundinaria can reach a height of 30–70 centimetres (12–28 in). Stem is erect, stout and glabrous. Flowers in whorls form a raceme. They have a diamenter of about 1 centimetre (0.39 in). Corolla has five white petals. Calyx is composed by five fused, sharp-pointed sepals. Leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate and short-stalked. Fruits reach a length of about 5 cm and contain many seeds showing a tuft of white hairs. Flowering time lasts from June to the end of July. [2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species is native to cliffs and slopes, especially in calcareous soils, of continental Eurasia (including some Baltic islands).[3] There are introduced populations in North America (Ontario, Michigan, and New York).[1] It is not present in Great Britain and Ireland.

Human culture[edit]

Vincetoxicum hirundinaria is a venomous plant traditionally used in treating diseases and in magic. The plant was mentioned by Pedanius Dioscorides as a traditional plant used by Dacians and known as "ZOO-USTE", the "herb of animals", believed to open any locked door.[4]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cynanchum vincetoxicum (L.) Pers.". 
  2. ^ a b Nature Gate
  3. ^ Leimu, R (Jan 2004). "Variation in the mating system of Vincetoxicum hirundinaria (Asclepiadaceae) in peripherial island populations" (Free full text). Annals of Botany. 93 (1): 107–13. ISSN 0305-7364. PMID 14678943. doi:10.1093/aob/mch012. 
  4. ^ Bucurescu, Adrian (22 August 2012). "Iarba fiarelor". The Epoch Times, Romania. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 

External links[edit]