Hedysarum coronarium (sulla): the flower of honey
Although it is not well known, Sulla is actually a spontaneous plant very precious for its beneficial properties and because it is an excellent fodder for animals.
Sulla is a leguminous plant belonging to the Hedysareae family.
This herbaceous plant was domesticated only a few years ago, in fact it is cultivated for many purposes. It grows spontaneously in different soils and prefers them soft and very moist. The great ability to go deep into the soil makes it suitable for very clayey soils.
The main feature of Sulla is the very robust and quadrangular shape of the stem. It has erect, coarse stems that over time become wooden, mostly after flowering. The leaves are oval and pubescent in the margin. The beautiful flower closely resembles that typical of legumes. Its inflorescence has a calyx shape, with the petals taking a color ranging from intense red to white and blooming at the end of the spring season.
Cultivation methods of Sulla
In Italy, Sulla grows spontaneously almost everywhere, especially in regions such as Liguria, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily, Umbria, Sardinia.
Italy is also the only country in which it is grown, being also an excellent plant to make the soil more fertile. Moreover, it also manages to colonize clay soils which it manages to make fertile.
The Sulla does not need special care or methods to grow it and is also used a lot for the production of honey
Thanks to its beautiful flowers, the Sulla is grown more and more frequently also as an ornamental plant in the gardens.
The Sulla also has a fruit, a real legume, called “lomento”, a name that derives from the situation in which, when it reaches maturity, it separates into as many segments as there are seeds, usually from three to five.
This favors its own dissemination. The plant has the particularity of being very rich in water, soluble sugars and is abundantly nectariferous, excellent and highly sought after by the bees that produce honey.
Diseases and cures
First of all, it must be specified that the Sulla is well resistant to drought, but not to harsh climates, in fact it dies at a temperature of about six degrees Celsius below zero.
The Sulla resists well even in the absence of rains or watering thanks to its deep roots that manage to find water independently. However, when dealing with an intensive cultivation of Sulla, one must evaluate the possibility of watering it, being always careful not to overdo it as a stagnation of water could ruin the roots causing them to rot and causing the death of the plant or of the entire crop in no time.
Sulla is a plant highly sought after especially by beekeepers. Its absence in some regions of Italy causes the so-called nomadism by beekeepers who bring their hives to the spontaneous fields of Sulla. In addition to being an excellent fertilizer for the land and forage for cattle, bees are also fond of the nectar of Sulla’s flowers, thus producing a very precious honey. The honey produced is an excellent diuretic and natural laxative, a good remedy for acne if applied on the skin, as well as being very useful for treating sore throats and coughs.