Pollen Grains and Plant images on the Shroud of Turin.

Shroud of Turin.
During a 1999 conference of the prestigious Missouri Botanical Society in St Louis, Missouri, Avinoam Danin, a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leading authority on the flora of Israel, along with Uri Baruch, a pollen specialist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported that the combination of pollen spores lodged in the Shroud’s surface, as well as floral images mysteriously “imprinted” on the face of the cloth, could only have come from plants growing in a restricted area around Jerusalem. How floral images came to be on the cloth is as big a mystery as are the body images.

Pollen identification is a common method used in criminal forensics to determine where an object has been geographically. Max Frei, a Zurich criminologist, had previously identified a total of 58 different pollens on the Shroud. These pollens are native to areas around 1) the Dead Sea and the Negev, 2) the Anatolian Steppe of central and western Turkey, 3) the immediate environs of Constantinople, and 4) Western Europe. Danin and Baruch confirmed much of Frei’s work. They also confirmed some previous floral image identifications by Oswald Sheuermann, a German physicist, and Alan Whanger, a professor at Duke University.
Cautionary Note: Some of the pollen identification has been challenged because of inaccurate chain of evidence record keeping. And image identification of the flowers is highly subjective. We must keep in mind that image identification is made from photographs of the Shroud. The cloth has stains, dirt, bloodstains and wrinkles that introduces visual anomalies. Photographic film, due to grain limitations, may not perfectly capture subtle details. Enhancement of contrast and brightness of the photographs, which is necessary, also may distort the picture.

Even so, the evidence is compelling and warrants important consideration when weighed with other evidence.

Significant Identification:

The most important plants that Danin and Baruch identified and reported on are:

Chrysanthemum coronarium: This is one of the most prominent plant images on the Shroud. This image is clearly visible. It is not a very strong geographical indicator in that it is a widespread Mediterranean species. It is, however, a good temporal indicator since it blooms between March and May. This suggests that the image was formed at that time of year.

Zygophyllum dunosum: This is the second most prominent floral image on the Shroud. The phonologic stage of bloom, as seen on the Shroud, indicates that it was cut or picked sometime between December and April. This plant grows only in the Sinai, a small area of Jordan adjacent to Israel, Jerusalem, and an area of Israel south of Jerusalem.

Gundelia tournefortii: In addition to faint imagery, there are also a very significant number of pollen spores for this species on the Shroud. Such large quantities of pollen grains, of this otherwise insect-pollinated plant, can only be explained by physical contact with the Shroud. Gundelia blooms in Israel between March and May. This plant also grows throughout Turkey, Syria, northern Iran, northern Iraq, and in northern Israel. The southernmost edge of its growing region is Jerusalem.

Cistus creticus: Numerous pollen grains tend to confirm a fuzzy image of this plant on the Shroud’s surface. This is considered a very high geographic indicator since it only grows in Israel along the Mediterranean coast areas and the higher elevations east of the coast, but only as far in that direction as the old city of Jerusalem.

Capparis aegyptia: This plant grows only in Israel, Jordan, and the Sinai. According to Danin and Buruch, “Flowering buds of this species begin to open about midday, opening gradually until fully opened about sunset. Flowers of this species, seen as images on the Shroud, correspond to opening buds at three to four o’clock in the afternoon.”

The last four plants on the Shroud are significant because, as Danin and Baruch report, “[the assemblage] occurs in only one rather small spot on earth, this being the Judean mountains and the Judean Desert of Israel, in the vicinity of Jerusalem.”


Precious Oils ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible~Flowers~Rose of Sharon חבצלת chabatstseleth

by preciousoils in Precious Oils

“The Rose of Sharon” is a flower of uncertain identity mentioned in English language translations of the Bible. The word in question is the Hebrew word חבצלת chăḇaṣṣeleṯ, which has been uncertainly linked to the words בצל beṣel, meaning ‘bulb’, and חמץ hāmaṣ, which is understood as meaning either ‘pungent’ or ‘splendid‘ (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). The name first appears in 1611, when it was used in the King James Version of the Bible. According to an annotation at Song of Solomon 2.1 by the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version, this is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for “crocus”. Different scholars have suggested that the biblical “Rose of Sharon” is one of the following plants:

* A “kind of crocus” (“Sharon”, Harper’s Bible Dictionary) or a “crocus that grows in the coastal plain of Sharon” (New Oxford Annotated Bible);

* Tulipa montana, “a bright red tulip-like flower . . . today prolific in the hills of Sharon” (“rose”, Harper’s Bible Dictionary);

* Tulipa agenensis, the Sharon tulip, a species of tulip suggested by a few botanists; or

* Lilium candidum, more commonly known as the Madonna lily, a species of lily suggested by some botanists, though likely in reference to the “lily of the valleys” mentioned in the second part of Song of Solomon 2.1.

* Hibiscus syriacus is a widely cultivated ornamental shrub in the genus Hibiscus whose common names includes Rose of Sharon (especially in North America).

The Hebrew word chabatstseleth, rendered “rose” (“autumn crocus”), is supposed by some to mean the oleander, by others the sweet-scented narcissus, the tulip, or the daisy; but nothing definite can be affirmed regarding it.

The “rose of Sharon” is probably the cistus or rock-rose, (Cistus landaniferus – also known as Labdanum or Rock Rose). Several species abound in Israel and the Middle East. (Do not confuse labdanum with laudanum; they are two different substances. Laudanum is the name for a number of opium preparations originally obtained from alchemists.)
Cistus Creticus Incanus.

Cistus is a small, sticky shrub native to the Mediterranean and Middle East. The essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the leaves. It is pale yellow-orange with a strong, sweet, dry-herbaceous aroma. Its odor effect is generally perceived as warming and restorative. Cistus oil is used in many skin care blends. Blend it with German Chamomile to treat inflamed skin conditions. Blend with Green Myrtle for care for aging skin (suggested by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in Advanced Aromatherapy). It is excellent for mature skin care and for firming and toning. Blends well with: Bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, lavender, juniper, oak moss, opopanax (sweet myrrh), patchouli, pine, sandalwood, vetiver. Besides the steam distilled oil from the leaves and twigs of the cistus plant you can also find a solvent extracted labdanum absolute from the crude resin of the plant on the market, this is very thick and should be warmed in the palm of your hands before blending in oils.

Safety Data: Avoid while pregnant.

Roses are the Community of Israel, in Jewish thought and symbolism.

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the Excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the Excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:1&2

Symbolically, The Rose of Sharon as crocus says “youthful and gladness;” as a red tulip-like flower says “declaration of love;” and as a Madonna Lily, purity and sweetness.

Flowers of the Field, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley . . . mysterious plants found in Scripture. While the true meaning of what the actual flowers were during the ancient days, we know when we speak “of love” that a rose, is a rose, is a rose . . . . . . Is a rose.

Copyright 2008 Precious Oil ~ A Study of the Fragrances of the Bible by Apothecary Cynthia Hillson page 29