EARLY PURPLE ORCHID (Orchis mascula), and indeed most of the Orchis species of Europe and northern Asia, have tubers that when prepared yield Salep, which had, at least according to the doctrine of signatures (the word orchid means testicle) a reputation for curing impotence. (see also APHRODISIAC). The word itself, sometimes spelt 'salop', is from Turkish, originally Arabic sahlab (Emboden. 1974). The substance was imported at one time from the East, and used as an article of diet, reported to be very nutritious (Fluckiger & Hanbury), part of every ship's provisions, to prevent famine at sea, for the dried material swells to several times its size when water is added, so it was standard starchy food in the days of sailing ships. It forms a jelly with a large proportion of water. A decoction flavoured with sugar and spices, or wine, was reckoned an agreeable drink for invalids, though it has no medicinal value. Nevertheless, it was used in the treatment of colitis and diarrhoea (Emboden. 1974). It makes a common soft drink, very popular long before the introduction of coffee houses, and mentioned in Victorian books as a common beverage for manual workers (Mabey. 1972).

Salicornia europaea > GLASSWORT

Salix spp > WILLOW

Salix capraea > GOAT WILLOW

Salix viminalis > OSIER

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