Edith Sherwood Ph.D. and Erica Sherwood

The Voynich Botanical Plants

Folio 14r Back to Plant List
folio 14r

Folio 14r, Black Salsify or Viper’s grass (Scorzonera), is a native of Southern Europe, where it was cultivated as a root vegetable around 1500 AD. It has spear-shaped leaves, yellow ray flowers, and a thin black taproot that grows up to one meter long and up to 2 cm in diameter. The roots were foraged by the ancient Greeks and Romans. During the Middle Ages, the plant was used as a tonic and a cure for snakebites, hence the common name “viper’s grass.”

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