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The species of February 2018

Common Name: Thorny burnet, Pricky Burnet, Brushwood
Scientific Name: Sarcopoterium spinosum
Family: Rosaceae


It is a low perennial shrub of about 40 cm high, which grows in areas with low altitude as well as in areas with high altitudes over 1000 m. [1, 2]. It consists of a cluster of woody logs, where at the top there is a woody and thin formation that ends up in a small thorn [2]. 

It is found in areas with phrygana, which are natural areas covered mainly by low shrubs and heaths, an integral part of the Cypriot landscape [1]. It grows on the edge of forests and hills, as well as on farmyards [2].

It flowers from February to April. Its fruit has a bright reddish color. According to Ancient Greek Mythology, when Venus was barefoot and she protected Adonis from the anger of Mars, she laid this shrub and the blood that fell from her stained the fruits with red colour.

When the temperature rises, the shrub starts to dry in order to reduce its water needs. During the summer months, its fruit is also dried and prepared to spread in fresh ground in the autumn to germinate the new shrubs in the phrygana [2].

Uses of the plant
The thorny burnet, mainly in the oldest years, was used as a

firelighter in the fireplace and for the manufacture of the broom in basketry [3]. According to Simo Menandro and Mas Latri, the name of the village Mazotos comes from this plant and indicates an area where there are many such shrubs. It is worth mentioning that the name Mazotos is also found elsewhere in Cyprus for the same reason, for example in the village Pissouri [2]. This plant also has medicinal properties. Since antiquity people had identified its properties as a diuretic and tonic [3].

[1] http://www.moa.gov.cy

[2] http://xlorida.blogspot.com/2011/09/sarcopoterium-spinosum.html
[3] http://lsg.ucy.ac.cy/Flora/Flora_Official/Lessons/
[4] http://mazotos.org/portfolio-item/istoria/

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