For the modern Greeks, the lotus fruit is the Japanese persimmon, which looks much like Travis County Wildlife Removal. I have seen it growing in gardens in the state of Lakonia in the Peloponnese, Greece. Personally, I’m not fond of this particular lotus fruit, it is dry and leaves your mouth feeling like it really needs water. It tastes a little like vanilla.
Having tasted this fruit it is hard to believe that it was this that so enthralled Odysseus and his crew of adventurers. Of course, it’s reasonable to suppose that the ancient Greek hero stayed close to his homeland, but it’s unlikely, given the amount of years it apparently took him to get home after the Trojan war.
It’s much more likely that he travelled to Asia and struck the sacred lotus.
However, if you have a look at the seed pods you may see they resemble those of the opium poppy. Each pod holds about 24 seeds. In Cambodia, these are appreciated as a very tasty snack!
The lotus plant is also valued for its medicinal properties, as it comprises nuciferine and aporphine, which are morphine-like substances. This indicates that the sleep of Lethe might well be triggered if the plant is ingested. No wonder Odysseus too so long for home.
Herodotus, the Father of History, thought the lotus eaters were people of the Libyan coastal location. However, Herodotus isn’t always a trustworthy source. In the ancient world eating the fruit of the lotus was thought to cause forgetfulness. Whether that was before or after Homer wrote the Odyssey is open to question.
Maybe the lotus eaters never really existed. However, they have certainly captured the imaginations of generations. Fans of Rick Riordan novels will doubtless recall the subject of the Lotus Eaters in his’Camp Half-Blood Chronicles.’
If you are interested enough to try the Greek lotus, head to the Peloponnese in autumn. I have seen the fruit on trees in the winter (no one seems to harvest it). However, you’ll have to ask permission to try out the lotus fruit. As it is cultivated in the gardens of homes.