Columella, On Trees

LCL 408: 342-343

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Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella

De Arboribus

I. Quoniam de cultu agrorum abunde primo volumine praecepisse videmur, non intempestiva erit arborum virgultorumque cura, quae vel maxima pars habetur rei rusticae. Placet igitur, sicuti Vergilio, nobis quoque duo esse genera surculorum: quorum alterum sua sponte gignitur, alterum cura mortalium procedit. Illud, quod non ope humana provenit, materiae est magis aptum: hoc cui labor adhibetur, 2idoneum fructibus. De hoc1 itaque praecipiendum est, atque id ipsum genus tripartito dividitur: nam ex surculo vel arbor procedit, ut olea, ficus, pirus; vel frutex, ut violae,2 rosae, harundines; vel tertium quiddam, quod neque arborem neque fruticem proprie dixerimus, sicuti est vitis. Arborum et fruticum docebimus cultum, si prius de vitibus praeceperimus.


Qui vineam vel arbustum constituere volet, seminaria prius facere debebit: sic enim sciet cuius generis vitem positurus sit. Nam quae pretio parata


On Trees

On Trees

I. Since we appear to have given ample instructionPreface. on the cultivation of fields in our first book,a it will be not out of place to deal with the care of trees and shrubs, which is considered to hold a very important place, indeed, in husbandry. We too, like Vergil, think proper, then, to divide growing trees into two classes, those which come into being of their own accord and those which are the result of human care. The former class, which does not come up by the help of man, is better suited for timber, the latter, on which labour is expended, is adapted to the production of fruit. We must, therefore, give instructions2 about the latter class. And this falls of itself into three parts; for from the shoot proceeds either a tree, such as the olive, fig and pear, or a shrub, such as the violet, rose or reed, or a third class which cannot properly be called either a tree or a shrub, such as the vine. We shall be teaching the cultivation both3 of trees and of shrubs if we first give directions about vines.

He who wishes to plant a vine or a tree on whichThe choice of suitable land for growing vines. to train a vine will have first to make a nursery; for in that way he will know what kind of vine he is going to plant. For a vine which is purchased and

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.columella-trees.1955