The story of Orpine (erba della Madonna) begins. It is Orti Dipinti’s most valuable herb and story.
«Only he who inflicts the wound will heal it,» replied the god Apollo, according to myth. Not all myths speak of victory and defeat. Some, in fact, are also about healing and cures. The one about Telephus, for example, begins with the invasion of his kingdom, Misia, by Greeks headed for Troy. (The defeat of the former + the victory of the latter.)
It continues with the king’s flight from Achilles, who with his heroic spear wounded the king’s thigh, such that it would not heal. Telephus then asked Apollo what to do. His answer is what you’ve read above. Achilles had, in fact, discovered a plant with healing power. Equally heroic as his spear. What it was originally called doesn’t matter. Today, in memory of the healed king, it is called telephium.
FROM GREEK MYTHS TO THE STREETS OF FLORENCE
Sedum telephium is its full name. But it would only be complete in many languages considering how widespread it is throughout the world. In Spanish, hierba sanalotodo: the plant that cures everything. In English, stopecrop: rock cultivation. And in Italian?
Anyone who’s been to Florence has seen niches displaying holy images scattered around on street corners. The Madonna is often featured. And nearby, growing in the cracks of the walls, is the same plant that Achilles used to cure Telephus. Because a tabernacle is remembered better than a Greek myth, we call it erba della Madonna (Madonna’s herb).
FROM THE STREETS OF FLORENCE TO THE WORLD
Now, who told us this story? Giacomo, of course. Who for many years has been growing erba della Madonna in the Orti’s most valuable flowerbed in Borgo Pinti.
Today we talked about names. Which are so dear to the Journal. We would like our readers to grow just like this plant. Meaning that they’d be spread out all over the world, but – and you’ll read about it in the next installments – that together they’d look towards Florence.