Hyoscyamus desertorum, Hyoscyamus albus desertorum,
Desert henbane,
Hebrew: שיכרון המדבר ,שיכרון מדברי, Arabic: البنج الصحراوي

Scientific name:  Hyoscyamus desertorum (Aschers. ex Boiss.) Taeckh.
Synonym name:  Hyoscyamus albus desertorum
Common name:  Desert henbane
Hebrew name:  שיכרון המדבר, שיכרון מדברי
Arabic name:  البنج الصحراوي
Family:  Solanaceae, סולניים

פרחים וצמחי בר בארץ ישראל, البنج الصحراوي

Life form:  Annual
Spinescence:  Flowers
Stems:  Erect
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, entire, ovate to rhombic rarely cordate based leaves which are covered all over with densely glandular hairs, dentate or serrate margin
Flowers:  Hermaphrodite, yellow, spinescence
Fruits / pods:  Capsules dehiscent by an operculum slightly distal to middle; seeds reniform or discoid, minutely pitted
Flowering Period:  March, April, May
Habitat:  Desert, Thermophilous plants
Distribution:  Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts
Chorotype:  Saharo-Arabian
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Hyoscyamus desertorum, Hyoscyamus albus desertorum, Desert henbane, שיכרון  البنج الصحراوي, המדבר ,שיכרון מדברי


Derivation of the botanical name:
Hyoscyamus, Hyoskyamos, from the Greek hys, hyos, "pig" and kyamos "bean", allegedly, because pigs can eat the herb without damage.
desertorum, of the deserts.
  • The standard author abbreviation Asch. is used to indicate Paul Friedrich August Ascherson (1834 – 1913), a German botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Boiss. is used to indicate Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810 – 1885), a Swiss botanist, explorer and mathematician.
  • The standard author abbreviation Taeckh. is used to indicate Vivi Täckholm (1898 - 1978), a Swedish botanist, co-author of Flora of Egypt (1949-69), wife of Gunnar Täckholm, first professor of botany at Cairo Univeristy (1925-9), devoted most of her life to studying the flora of Egypt,inspired botanists in Egypt for some fifty years.
The inhabitants of the Negev Desert and the northern Sinai smoke the dried leaves and seeds of this plant as a treatment for toothaches, chest pains, coughs, asthma, and hysteria (Dafni and Yaniv 1994, 14*).

In Israel there are five species of Henbane and the most common one is Hyoscyamus aureus, which we can find in the Western Wall. (see: Western Wall Flowers and Hyoscyamus aureus, Golden Henbane, שיכרון זהוב)
It is only mentioned in one place in the Bible (Joshua 15:11), in conjunction with the biblical place-name Shikrona in Judea. Shikrona is the Hebrew word for Henbane.

Bible resources:
  1. Joshua 15: 11
    It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea".

Hyoscyamus desertorum, Hyoscyamus albus desertorum, Desert henbane, שיכרון البنج الصحراوي ,המדבר ,שיכרון מדברי