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Fiteuma Dyascorides Folia habet similia structio sed minora, semen multum et partusum radicem longam et tenuem et non in altum demersam.


Fiteuma AC | Fireuma B efp {‘t’ misread as ‘r’} | Fiteuina? or Fiteuma j
structio ABC e | strutio p | strutõ or strutio j | strucio f
partusum C | par- or pertusum A efp | par- or pertussũ B | ptusuʒ j
{tenuem} et om. j
non om. B
altum AC | alto B efjp
demersam ABC f | dimersaʒ jp | diuersam ms. e
{demersam} et cetera add. jp


Fiteuma according to Dyascorides has leaves similar to structio {"soap wort"}, but they are smaller, the fruit {Graece: καρπός /karpós/} are many and perforated, with a root that is long and thin and not sunk deep.


Simon’s entry is a near verbatim quote from Dioscorides Longobardus, 4, 123, ed. Stadler (1901: 58-9) De fiteuma [[1]].
The original Greek text can be found in 4, 128, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: II.274) φύτευμα /phyteuma/ [[2]].

Greek φύτευμα /phýteuma/, medieval Greek /fítevma/ but medieval Latin speakers pronounced /fité-uma/, either of the last two pronunciations clould be represented by Simon’s transcription.
The word means basically “that which is planted” or “plant” (LSJ). The name was then also used for a particular plant, described above by Dioscorides. Concerning the naming motive: as often semantic vagueness - here “the plant” - is used to express specific taboo or sexual meanings, cf. English “doing it”. This plant then had the reputation of being a love philtre: Dioscorides Longobardus – not quoted by Simon - states: Quam plurimi dicunt data amorem facit – “Many say of it that when administered it creates carnal lust.”
Phyteuma is also mentioned by Pliny (Natural History, 27, 99, 124, ed. W.H.S. Jones (1938-63: VII.466) who simply refuses to describe the plant because: Phyteuma quale sit, describere supervacuum habeo, cum sit usus eius tantum ad amatoria – "Phyteuma is of such a nature that I think it of no benefit to describe it because it is only used for love philtres".

See Struction, Struthion (2)

Botanical identification:

Most authors as far back as Sprengel (1807: 174 [[3]]), also e.g. André (1985: 199), Beck (2005: 298), Berendes (1901: 436), agree that phyteuma is Reseda phyteuma L. "rampion or corn mignonette" [[4]].

WilfGunther (talk) 20:58, 23 December 2016 (GMT)

See Struction, Struthion (2)

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