Dictionary > Silphium


Silphium is a plant in which the identity is under a matter of debate. Generally, it is considered as coming from the genus Ferula. Many presumed it to be extinct although the cause of extinction is unknown, presumably due to overgrazing and overharvesting. It is said to have been used as an aphrodisiac, a perfume, or as a medicine. It is also presumed to be the first genuinely effective birth control. Early Greek scholar, Theophrastus, described Silphium as a plant with thick roots with black bark, hollow stalk, golden leaves, and about one cubit long. Synonyms: silphion, laserwort, laser.


  1. Gorvett, Z. (2017). The mystery of the lost Roman herb. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170907-the-mystery-of-the-lost-roman-herb.

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