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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of perennial herbs of the family Umbelliferae. The plants are often very large, reaching a height of 2–3 m and measuring 10 cm across. The leaves are dissected, and the yellow or whitish flowers are in umbels. The fruit consists of two dorsally compressed hemicarps, usually with filamentous ribs.

There are more than 130 species, distributed in Eurasia and North Africa. The USSR has about 100 species, growing predominantly in Middle Asia. The plants are raised as sources of tar, gum, essential oil, medicinal substances, animal feed, and spice. The most common species are from Middle Asia: they include F. assafoetida, F. schair, F. gumosa, F. galbaniflua, and F. moschata. The gum resin obtained from F. assafoetida is used medicinally to treat nervous and other disorders. The roots of F. schair contain many tars. F. gumosa and F. galbaniflua yield the gum resin galbanum, which was used in making medicinal plasters. F. moschata, which contains an essential oil having the scent of musk, is used with other Ferula species in perfumery. A number of species contain a significant amount of edible starch in their roots. The large rosette leaves of some species, including F. schair, are a valuable livestock feed.


Korovin, E. P. Illiustrirovannaia monografiia roda Ferula (Tourn.) L. Tashkent, 1947.
Korovin, E. P. “Ferula—Ferula L.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 17. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.