Gardening

Characteristics and uses of the Biscutella auriculata

Biscutella auriculata also known as Eyeglass, Spectacle Grass, Spectacle Yerba, Tamarilla or Santa Lucia Spectacles. It belongs to the Cruciferous family and is native to Europe and Asia.

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Biscutella  name that is derived from Latin, composed of bi  which is “double” and scutella which means “small cup”. As well as  auricular  that means Latin epithet that refers to the fruit that evokes the ears.

Characteristics of the Biscutella auriculata

Annual plant  that can reach a height of 40 to 60 cm, with erect and branched stems in the upper half. It has hairs on the bottom, but is glabrous on the top.

The basal leaves in rosettes and the stem leaves are numerous, progressively less towards the inflorescence, sessile and hirtas.

The flowers are hermaphroditic, actinomorphic, tetrameric with four patent lemon-yellow petals. It has six stamens, the internal ones with winged filaments, with glabrous or hispid sepals. It blooms in the spring.

The fruit is thin, flattened, glandular, in the form of spectacle lenses with a marginal membrane. The seed is ovate in shape and brown in color.

Caring for Biscutella auriculata

It is a species that abounds in fallows, cultivated fields, banks and gutters.

It is a plant  that requires full sun exposure for it to thrive properly.

It requires gypsum, clay, limestone or sandy soils.

As for irrigation, it should be little, if the soil is light. On the other hand, if it is clayey, it should be moderate.

The compost should be rich in nitrogen, when sowing is direct.

Once it is harvested, it should be put in the shade at a temperature below 30˚C. Finally it is stored in dry jars and away from light.

Applications

It was formerly used in herbal tea or infusion to eliminate water and sodium through the urine. Even to get rid of excess fluids from edema or to combat dropsy.

For the infusion, a liter of water is boiled and the whole plant is poured, dried and chopped. It is turned off and allowed to cool a bit. It can be sweetened with a little honey.

What do you think of this specimen? Did you know it? Did you know about its virtues?

Image courtesy of: Vojtěch Zavadil,  Miltos Gikas ,

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