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Dactylorhiza foliosa (Rchb.f.)Soo Orchidaceae Distribution: Madeira. Roots look like a hand and Coles (1657) calls them Palma Christi sive [or] Satyrion (to distinguish it from Ricinus communis which he calls Palma Christi sive Ricinus. This plant would be the closest to his Male Satyrion Royal, with purple flowers (but this is likely to be one of the English Marsh orchids,, and Dactylorhiza fuchsii is his Female Satyrion. In common with Orchis he writes 'The full and plump roots of the Satyrium or Orchis, whereof the Electuary Diasatyrium is made, are of mighty efficacy to provoke to venery, which they that have bulbous roots [meaning the testicle shaped roots of Orchis] do by Signature.'. Terrestrial orchids continue to be harvested by the millions annually in the Middle East for the production of Salep, including Salep ice cream, because of their mythological aphrodisiacal property. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

Dr Henry Oakeley

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Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Dr Henry Oakeley
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Dactylorhiza foliosa (Rchb.f.)Soo Orchidaceae Distribution: Madeira. Roots look like a hand and Coles (1657) calls them Palma Christi sive [or] Satyrion (to distinguish it from Ricinus communis which he calls Palma Christi sive Ricinus. This plant would be the closest to his Male Satyrion Royal, with purple flowers (but this is likely to be one of the English Marsh orchids,, and Dactylorhiza fuchsii is his Female Satyrion. In common with Orchis he writes 'The full and plump roots of the Satyrium or Orchis, whereof the Electuary Diasatyrium is made, are of mighty efficacy to provoke to venery, which they that have bulbous roots [meaning the testicle shaped roots of Orchis] do by Signature.'. Terrestrial orchids continue to be harvested by the millions annually in the Middle East for the production of Salep, including Salep ice cream, because of their mythological aphrodisiacal property. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. CC BY


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