Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Rare Plant Is Ancestor of Roman Perfumes

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Plant Ancestor Roman PerfumeSEVILLE, SPAIN—A rare plant that grows along the coast in the eastern Mediterranean has been identified as the maternal ancestor of Reseda odorata, whose flowers were used by the Romans to concoct perfumes. “The location of one of the parts of its origin (the mother species), provides information about the evolutionary mechanisms which produce species which are later useful to humankind,” said Pedro Jiménez Mejías of the Pablo de Olavide University. Jiménez thinks that botanists may find new areas where the plant grows, in addition to Crete, Cyprus, and southern Turkey.