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Butcher's broom, Ruscus aculeatus

Family of liliaceae

This is a common plant of woods situated in the bottom of the valley, especially the oak woods. Normally it is linked to the chestnut tree and other essences. Everybody knows its sharpened and dark leaves (to be precise they are not leaves but flattened trunks called cladode) with the decorative red fruits.

The plant is principally used for Christmas to prepare decorative bunches together with mistletoe. It is very similar to the asparagus and it has the same diuretic effects, so that it is employed in several preparations. The young shoots have a slightly bitter flavour (which is better than the one of asparagus) and they can be boiled in abundant salted water and dressed with oil, lemon and pepper, or they can be part of an omelette.

Picture and text of Tebaldo Lorini
Translated by Gianna Toni

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