Botany: Acantus from Rutili

Acanthe di Rutali (Assoc Oper di Rutali)Belonging to the Acanthaceae family, the Acanthus loves rocks and walls, enjoying little soil.
The dark, glossy
green and jagged leaves can reach from the start, 1m in length. The tall stalks are dotted with white, purplish veined flowers measuring up to 5cm.
Of a very proud nature with its’ dark bracts, green shaped helmet
calyx, and large three-lobed lower lip, giving a particular majestic appearance – blooming from May to July.
Virtues and traditions: Its’ sap has a reputation for being stimulating (Greek warriors used it before going into battle).
Applied to a spot, it would remove all the pus without the slightest pain (once a cure used in Soriu);  some people also used it in poultices.

Architecture: ‘l’erba à cinque’ itself is known for its’ leaves, which were used as architectural patterns.
The famous Corinthian capitals are the work of the Athenian sculptor Callimachus in his draft De Architectura (1st century BC). The acanthus leaf wall sculptures go all the way to India; on the coat of arms of the town of Uzes in the Gard, and the Maison Carree in Nimes (1st century AD) –
one of the most common patterns of sculpture of Romanesque art.

Right here, the church of San Gavinu di Carbini (12th century) is decorated with Corinthian capitals and acanthus leaves. These same leaves can be found on the vault of the central nave in Piana’s church, on the organ of Piedicroce as well as at the Church of St. Francis of Alesani.
Literature: this flower has always been an inspiration not only for architects but also for artists and writers. Grace and malleability of the plant are probably the reasons for this success.
Victor Hugo wrote the following lines, which I think should remain in French after all:

‘Viens, dit elle – je vins,

sa jeune taille était plus souple que l’acanthe; elle errait éblouie idéale bacchante, sous des pampres divins ..’

La Légende des Siècles.

Source: Association Opera-di-Rutali Copyright ©



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