Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo)

Azucena silvestre o martagón (Lilium martagon), ff. 80v-81r

Martagon lily (Lilium martagon) ff. 80v-81r

"The martagon lily has a yellow root like that of the white lily, but much smaller. Its slender stem is usually a cubit high and the leaves grow from all round it, placed at regular intervals, very like those of soapwort, but smoother and more shiny. The flowers are borne at the head of the plant, with their stalks distant from each other by two fingers or more. They are very like the flowers of other lilies, but smaller, curved backwards, purplish in colour and dotted with a darker colour. They have a good smell and are very striking to the eye. This plant grows in woods high on the mountains and flowers in May and June. Many alchemists maintain that it is useful for their art." (f. 80v)
This plant grows in forests on deep soil in northern and central Italy, France, northern Spain, and all of Eurasia. Its other common name, Turk’s cap lily, comes from the characteristic shape of the petals. The epithet martagon is also derived from a Turkish word for turban. Its bulbs contain mucilages and are applied to calluses and boils. The bulbs are also boiled and eaten as diuretics.

Ramón Morales Valverde
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
(Extract from the commentary volume of Mattioli's Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo)

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