For the modern Greeks, the lotus fruit is the Japanese persimmon, which looks a lot like Travis County Wildlife Removal. I have seen it growing in gardens in the state of Lakonia in the Peloponnese, Greece. Personally, I am not a fan of this particular lotus fruit, it is dry and leaves your mouth feeling as though it really needs water. It tastes a little like vanilla.
Having tasted this fruit it’s hard to believe that it was this that so enthralled Odysseus and his team of adventurers. Needless to say, it is reasonable to assume that the ancient Greek hero remained close to his homeland, but it is unlikely, given the amount of years it apparently took him to get home after the Trojan war.
It is much more probable that he travelled to Asia and struck the sacred lotus. The sacred lotus, so Homer wrote in Book 9 of the Odyssey, caused Odysseus and his followers to forget the purpose of their journey, which is why some commentators have suggested that the lotus eaters partook of the opium poppy.
However, for those who take a look at the seed pods you may see they resemble those of the opium poppy. In Cambodia, these are valued 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 to get home.
Herodotus, the Father of History, thought the lotus eaters were inhabitants 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. as can be seen in her novel, ‘The Age of Innocence’. Fans of Rick Riordan books will doubtless recall the theme of the Lotus Eaters in his’Camp Half-Blood Chronicles.’
If you are interested enough to try the Greek lotus, visit the Peloponnese in autumn. I’ve seen the fruit on trees in the winter (no one appears 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.