Silphium is the source of Cyrene's wealth. It is possible that the first colonists who landed in Cyrenaica realized the many qualities of the plant and decided at once to take advantage of it. Maybe, the Minoans knew about it too, as Sir Arthur Evans found some inscribed tablets from Cnossos with symbols very like those represented on later Cyrenaican coins.
Silphium is represented on coins possibly as the symbol of Cyrenaica and a branch of silphium is also shown held by a female divinity in clay statuettes. A rare coin shows a female figure sitting on a high stool, holding out her arms towards a plant of silphium. I think that she is not a goddess, but Cyrene itself, guardian of silphium and of the land where silphium grows and I suggest that a limestone head found in Lamluda could belong to a statue of the same type.
After the archaic period, there are many legends related to silphium and also to Aristaeus who is said to have discovered the plant. After the royal period, the symbol of silphium loses its first position on coins and is nearly forgotten in art, but in the 2nd century AD it appears again in two groups of capitals, one in Beida and one in Cyrene. It is a sort of deliberate revival of the old legends and old iconographies that wants to confirm and demonstrate that the great political power of Cyrene (due to silphium) has returned even if the plant of silphium itself has become very rare.