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Silphium: Numismatic evidence

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A final thought. I can't think of any reason for limiting a mythical plant to one geographical area. Like unicorns or griffins anyone can claim to have once had them - ut only one place ever claimed to have grown silphium.


Maty, this is exactly why I have my doubts about the legendary plant. There are not many places I can visit if I want to see the Loch Ness monster or consult the Oracle of Delphi. (The Oracle, at least, had a great influence over several societies for centuries. Does this make it any more real?)



guy also known as gaius


guy also known as gaius (and Maty),


To address one of the issues you have with silphium having a 'unique' habitat I can't remember precise details but quite a few years back there was much discussion about a long lived plant which only grew and flowered in a single island habitat which had gone years without flowering so was in danger of dying out.


After a lot of research it was realised that it relied for its pollination on something which could fly up to where it flowered which had an extremely long tongue but had apparently become extinct after the island was found. I don't know if it was a bird or a moth but the point is that this provides evidence of how in a fragile/ unique habitat the loss of one species can have a disasterous effect for another.


Another example where I do have details is the case of the range of hummingbirds found on Trinidad and Tobago following reported in the Ecological Society of America journal.


Talking about how different bird competed for limited nectar sourtces they found that one species left Tobago totally for a three month period due to competition from other birds for its favoured food source, the rtelvant extract follows:


.....We found few significant differences in the intensity of competition on the two islands. One hummingbird species, Amazilia tobaci, won most interspecific aggressive encounters over nectar on both islands. There were no significant differences in the intensity of exploitative competition (measured as mean interspecific crowding) experienced by most species on different islands. C. mosquitus, though, may have left Tobago during the 3

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