• Homer's moly

    Homer's  moly

    The snowdrop of queen Olga (Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp reginae-olgae) is a legendary flower of Greece that blooms in autumn. The name Galanthus comes from the greek words gala “milk" and anthos "flower". The plant was described in 1876 from Taygetos mountain by the famous Greek botanist and poet Theodoros Orfanidis who gave it the name of the then (Russian) queen of Greece, Olga. It is a perennial bulbous plant whose height can reach 15 cm, while each bulb makes only one flower. In Greece it is found in Pindos, Peloponnese, Eastern Sterea and Corfu. It grows in forests, shrubs, slopes and canyons, always near streams, showing preference in wet, shady locations with a northern orientation. Even more exciting than its scientific name is the tradition that the snowdrop is the herb that god Hermes gave Ulysses as an antidote to Circe's magical potions, the mythical plant "moly" of the Odyssey. Moly (from the ancient verb “molyo" meaning weaken, paralyze) acted as an antidote to cholinergic substances, such as those allegedly contained in the witch's potions. There are many plants with such qualities but only the snowdrop fits more closely with the description of Homer, as the epic poet says "it has white flowers, black root and is easily uprooted".

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