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Species: R. aculeatus L.
Other common names: Pugnitopo, Piccasorci, Asparagus mad, Grass nock, Tongue, Spinapruci, Sparaciu tronu.
The butcher's broom is a bush up to 80 cm high, common in the woods up to about 800 meters.
Plant renowned for its astringent and diuretic properties, the butcher's broom is considered the wild relative of the common asparagus, with which it shares some culinary uses.
It is grown as an ornamental plant especially as a decoration during the Christmas holidays.
Butcher's broom - Ruscus aculeatus L.
Butcher's broom - Ruscus aculeatus L. (photo www.rcplondon.ac.uk)
It has a creeping rhizome; the stems are erect and dark-green in color, woody and streaked, with cladodes from lanceolate to ovate-pointed (2-3 cm long), with acute apical spine.
The flowers are single, carried by the cladodes, subsessile, with bratte at the base. Fruits are spherical or subspherical berries.
Sprouts (collected from March to May) and roots (collected between September and November) are used. The rhizome is cleaned and dried in the sun; sprouts are used in the kitchen only fresh, after being boiled and are eaten in salads or in the preparation of soups. The decoction and tincture of the roots are used in the treatment of hemorrhoids and against swelling of the legs (external use). The rhizome decoction is used as an astringete and diuretic.