It grows wild in riverside lands of the Mediterranean and western Asia. The wood is rough and yellow, violet flowers and seeds contain an oil with a characteristic odor.
According to Dioscorides, first-century Greek botanist well known for the Andalusians, their peculiar oil had anti-aphrodisiac properties, in fact, the Athenians participating in the Thesmophoria, feasts in honor of Demeter, used flowers of this plant to decorate and leaves to preserve chastity. Precisely from here derives its name, which means chaste: agnus comes from Greek a that means denial and gonos, gonad, reproductive organ or offspring, and Latin castus.
This belief favored its use as dressing in the kitchen of the monasteries and convents of the Mediterranean coast, where it replaced the pepper with the desire to promote celibacy. This circumstance promoted, in turn, the presence of the plant in gardens and cloisters of these complexes, from which up to 80 came to congregate in Seville in the 18th century.