Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:23 Specimens with Sequences:23 Specimens with Barcodes:16 Species:18 Species With Barcodes:18 Public Records:23 Public Species:18 Public BINs:0
In Greek "Sideritis" can be literally translated as "he who is or has the iron". The plant was known to ancient Greeks, specifically Dioscorides and Theophrastus. Although Dioscorides describes three species, only one (probably S. scordioides) is thought to relate to Sideritis. In ancient times Sideritis was a generic reference for plants capable of healing wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. However others hold that the name stems from the shape of the sepal which resembles the tip of a spear.
S. syriaca L., S. cretica Boiss, S. boissieri Magn. - found in Crete and collectively known as Malotira (Μαλοτήρα)
Botanists have encountered difficulties in naming and classifying the varieties of Sideritis due to their subtle differences. One particularly confusing case is that of S. angustifolia Lagasca and S. tragoriganum Lagasca.
The genus is composed of short (8–50 cm), xerophyticsubshrubs or herbs, annual or perennial, that grow at high altitudes (usually over 1000 m) with little or no soil, often on the surface of rocks.
It is pubescent, either villous or coated by a fine, woolly layer of microscopic intertwined hairs.
Very popular in Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, the plant is used as a herb either for the preparation of herbal teas, or for its aromatic properties in local cuisines. The herbal tea is commonly prepared by decoction, by boiling the stems, leaves and flowers in a pot of water, then often serving with honey and lemon.
Scientists have suggested that the popular pronouncement of ironwort as panacea may have some basis in fact. Studies indicate a positive effect on many common ailments. Ironwort is known scientifically to be anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. Active elements include diterpenoids, flavonoids, and its essential oils. Significant research has been done on ironwort confirming its popular use to prevent colds, flu, and allergies. Most of this research has taken place in universities in the Netherlands and in Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Albania, where the plant is indigenous.
S. raeseri is the most common cultivar of Sideritis in Greece, Albania and Macedonia, where advanced hybrids also exist. Planting is recommended during two periods (October–November or February–March in the Northern hemisphere) and gathering in July, when in full bloom. The plant is typically dried before usage.
^Lindqvist, C.; Albert, V. A. (2002). "Origin of the Hawaiian endemic mints within North American Stachys (Lamiaceae)". American Journal of Botany 89 (10): 1709–24. doi:10.3732/ajb.89.10.1709. PMID21665597.
^Figuerola, R.; Stübing, G.; Peris, J. B. (1991). "Nomenclature and Typification of Sideritis angustifolia and S. tragoriganum (Lamiaceae, Spain)". Taxon 40 (1): 123–9. doi:10.2307/1222936. JSTOR1222936.