Convolvulus scammonia, Scammony, Syrian bindweed,
Hebrew:חבלבל רפואי, Arabic: المحمودة

Scientific name:  Convolvulus scammonia L.
Common name:  Scammony, Syrian bindweed
Hebrew name:  חבלבל רפואי
Arabic name:  المحمودة
Family:  Convolvulaceae, Bindweed family, חבלבליים

Convolvulus scammonia, Scammony, Syrian bindweed, חבלבל רפואי,  المحمودة

Life form:  Glabrous perennial
Spinescence:  no
Succulence:  no
Stems:  Stems up to 75cm, slender, trailing or twining, herbaceous
Leaves:  Simple, petiolate, triangular-ovate or lanceolate, sagittate(=shaped like an arrowhead), entire
Inflorescence:  Peduncles axillary, mostly longerthan bracts, frequently with more than 3 flowers
Flowers:  Sepals, emarginate and apiculate; corolla 25-45mm, pale yellow
Fruits / pods:  Capsule usually 4-seeded
Flowering Period:  Aril, May, June
Habitat:  Disturbed habitats, בultivated areas, weeds
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Convolvulus scammonia, Scammony, Syrian bindweed, חבלבל רפואי,  المحمودة


Derivation of the botanical name:
Convolvulus, Latin, convolvere, "to twine around"; "a bindweed" (Plinius), from convolvo, volvi, volutum, ere "to droll together, roll up, intertwine."
scammonia, resin from the root of Convolvulus scammonia, a mild cathartic gum-resin.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.

  • Theophrastus, who wrote his Enquiry into Plants around 300 BCE, mentions Convolvulus scammonia, Scammony, as a plant with medical properties but does not elaborate. Enquiry into Plants: Book 4.5.1. seeks cold regions; Book IX of the juices of plants, and the medicinal properties of herbs: 9.1.3. root produces a gum; 9.1.4. gum has medical properties; 9.9.1 root and juice used 9.20.5.juice only used.
  • Pliny the Elder (23-79CE), Natural History discusses the use of Scammony at lenght. Book XIV 110, XXV 54, XXVI 59, 90, 93, 114, 157, XXVII 79

  • Convolvulus scammonia, Scammony, Syrian bindweed, חבלבל רפואי,  المحمودة