is a plant native to Shade, widely used in cooking and medicinally, particularly as a contraceptive.
This fictionalised silphium is based on the reported properties of a real (extinct) plant of earthen
antiquity. It may not
resemble it exactly in appearance. See [silphium on Wikipedia]
and this [article from The Straight Dope]
Silphium is notoriously difficult to grow because it demands exact conditions, and as a result it only grows in very restricted regions. The only area that produces it in large proportions is Quetchia
. It has so far resisted attempts to cultivate it artificially in other areas.
Silphium is a herbaceous perennial plant. It dies back, and is cut down to its roots, towards the end of the year.
It is the resin of silphium that is used. It is used in cooking ([described here]
). It also acts as a natural, very effective, contraceptive/abortifacient, and this is one of its most valued properties.
Silphium is a tall, thick-stalked herbaceous perennial bearing light pink or peach flowers (depending on the variety) in sprays. It resembles giant fennel (pictures linked below), but with thicker stems and possibly taller.
The seeds are heart-shaped. The seed-cases are dark pink.