Another “oldar” – f33r

There is another page in the herbs section of the Voynich manuscript that has the EVA “oldar” word: f33r. It is a plant with spear-shaped leaves and a pronounced root.  There are two faces depicted in the roots (I’ll return to that feature later). The ‘flowers’ are peculiar and could also depict seedpods. On top of the bulbous pod are petal-like growths. Inside are many pillar-like structures. The bulbous growth has a few details: some ridges and  dots that might represent hairs. The ‘flower’ might be a construct, that shows both the flower and the fruit.

To identify this plant, I first took a look at plants that might be known as “nard”, like the ones on page f87v. However, this proved to be a dead end. Next I looked into plants that have a connection with ‘musk’, since that is another common features of the “nard”-plants. That is where I encountered the Musk mallow (musk okra, ambrette, formerly Ketmia aegyptiaca). The leaves of this plants are quite variable and are 3-7 lobed. The bulbous pods bear a good resembance to the unripe seed pods. The stamina and pistil of the Musk mallow flower form a tube, which resembles the pillar-like structures in the folio. Of course, there is only one of those tubes in each flower.

The seeds of the plant have a musky smell and have been used since the middle ages, among others as ingredient for spiced wine known as Hippocras.

If this identification is correct, it might indicate that the Voynich word “oldar” is equivalent with ‘musk’.

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