the navel of Venus



the navel of Venus,

Original French:  le nombril de Venus,

Modern French:  le nombril de Venus,

Among the plants that are named for a higher resemblance.




Mattioli, Pietro Andrea (1501–1577), New Kreüterbuch. Venetiis: Ex officina Erasmiana, Vincentij Valgrifij, 1563.

Umbilicus Veneris

Umbilicus Veneris
Umbilicus rupestris (Salisb.)
Dandy [as Cotyledon, Umbilicus Veneris
pennywort, wall pennywort

Clusius, Carolus (1526-1609), Rariorum plantarum historia vol. 2. Antverpiae: Joannem Moretum, 1601. fasicle 4, p. 63, fig. 1.


Cotyledon parvula herba est in cauliculo tenero, pusillo folio, pingui, concavo ut coxendices. nascitur in maritimis petrosisque viridis; radice olivae modo rotunda. oculis medetur suco. est aliud genus eiusdem sordidis foliis, latioribus densioribusque circa radicem velut oculum cingentibus, asperrimi gustus, longiore caule, sed pergracili. usus ad eadem quae iridi.

The cotyledon is a tiny plant on a tender little stem, with a very small fleshy leaf, which is concave like the hip joint. It grows in maritime and rocky places, fresh green in colour, and with a root that is oval like an olive. The juice is medicine for the eyes. There is another kind of cotyledon with dirty-green leaves, which are broader and closer together than those of the other, spread round the root as though it were an eye [Perhaps here a bud, with the sepals surrounding it. But Littré has: “entourée comme l’oeil l’est de l’orbite.”]; the taste is very harsh, the stem longer than that of the other kind but very slender. It is used for the same purposes as the iris.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 7: Books 24–27. William Henry Samuel Jones (1876–1963), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1956. 25.101. Loeb Classical Library

Venus’ Navel

Omphalodes linifolia.

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), The Five Books and Minor Writings. Volume 1: Books I-III. William Francis Smith (1842–1919), translator. London: Alexader P. Watt, 1893. Internet Archive

Le nombril de Venus

Umbilicus pendulinus, D. C., Crassulacée, à feuilles radicales arrondies, concaves, ombiliquées. C’est le cotyledon de Pline (XXV, 101). «Ce Cotylédon, autrement nommé Umbilicus Veneris» a été figuré pour la première fois par P. Belon, Obs., l. I, ch. LIII, p. 118, de l’éd. de 1588. (Paul Delaunay)

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Oeuvres. Édition critique. Tome Cinquieme: Tiers Livre. Abel Lefranc (1863-1952), editor. Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1931. p. 356. Internet Archive



Posted 10 February 2013. Modified 12 July 2018.

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