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Common Name: Rakaf
Leontice leontopetalum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Europe - Mediterranean to N. Africa.
Sunny rocky places on cultivated ground, 400 - 2200 metres[
]. Plants are sometimes found on limestone, they also grow in steppes and semi-desert[
Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained soil[
]. Plants require plenty of moisture during their winter-spring growing period and then a warm dry rest period in the summer[
]. In cool moist temperate climates they are best grown in a bulb frame and kept completely dry in the summer[
]. They can succeed outdoors in warm dry areas[
The tuber should not be covered when planting[
]. This is a strange report when considered against the report that seeds pull themselves down 15 - 30cm into the soil when they germinate - see below.
The tuber is said to contain a significant quantity of starch, from which a liquor is distilled[
The tuber is used as a cure for epilepsy and leprosy. It is also said to be an antidote to opium[
A soap is obtained from the plant, it is used in removing stains from cloth[
Seed - sow 3 - 4 seeds in each pot of deep soil in a greenhouse, covering the seed with 2cm of soil. It germinates in the autumn and pulls itself down 15 - 30cm deep into the soil before the first leaves appear in the spring[
]. If necessary, thin the plants to the best one in each pot and grow them on for at least three years in their pots before trying them outdoors. Give regular weak liquid feeds to ensure that the plants do not become nutrient deficient. Plants are very slow growing and can take several years before they first flower[