Dittany of Crete grows only on steep, rocky mountainsides and gorges on the island of Crete, in the Aegean sea. It’s a symbol of love, thought to be an aphrodisiac as well. Only the bravest, or those most foolhardy in love dare to collect it.
Locally those who go to the effort to find it are known as erondades, which translates roughly to “a seeker of love.” Throughout history, countless erondades have died trying to gather it for the one they love. Today it’s most often used for pharmaceuticals and those who gather for sale are well aware of the dangers of their profession. It’s also used as a perfume, and for flavorings, including absinthe.
I planted my specimen in a rock garden, where it is beginning to spread nicely. It’s hard to grow a lot of European witch garden plants in the hot, humid midwest. This transplant from Crete seems to feel right at home.