(From Hermus, a river upon whose banks it grows, and dactylus, a date, which it resembles). Hermodactyl; colchicum illyri-cum of Forskell and Gronovius; alsurengium; asaba; Hermes dactyletus; cphemeron; is the root of a plant brought from the east; of the shape of a heart, and of a reddish, yellowish, brownish colour. When white and hard it is preferred. Each root is flatted on one side, with a furrow on the other. Though known from the time of Prosper Alpinus, it is singular that its species has not been accurately ascertained. It is highly probable that it is from the plant which furnishes the following medicine. It hath a viscous farinaceous sweetness to the taste, but no smell. The ancients say it is cathartic; but the dried ones which we receive are perfectly inert. Prosper Alpinus informs us, that the Egyptian women eat them as a means of becoming fat. They are not of any known use in medicine. See Lewis's Materia Medica. Neumann's Chemical Works.
Hermodactylus folio Quadrangulo, called also iris tuberosa, iris bulbosa, and snake's Bead iris; iris tuberosa Lin. Sp. Pl. 58. The root of this plant hath a tubercle, which is both emetic and cathartic.