Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 408-409

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Pliny: Natural History

folia cecidere hieme durans. continet nucleum pineis similem; is crescit hieme, aperitur vere. pilula tota 31cadit cum folia coepere crescere. tam multifera sunt, tot res praeter glandem pariunt robora, sed et boletos suillosque, gulae novissima inritamenta, qui circa radices gignuntur, quercus probatissimos, robur autem et cupressus et pinus noxios. robora ferunt et viscum, et mella ut auctor est Hesiodus, constatque rores melleos e caelo, ut diximus, cadentes non aliis magis insidere frondibus; crematoque1 robore cinerem nitrosum esse certum est.

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XII. Omnes tamen has eius dotes ilex solo provocat cocco. granum hic primoque ceu scabies fruticis, parvae aquifoliae ilicis: scolecium2 vocant. pensionem alteram tributi pauperibus Hispaniae donat. usum eius grani et rationem3 in conchyli mentione tradidimus. gignitur et in Galatia, Africa, Pisidia, Cilicia, pessimum in Sardinia.

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XIII. Galliarum glandiferae maxime arbores agaricum ferunt; est autem fungus candidus, odoratus, antidotis efficax, in summis arboribus nascens, nocte relucens: signum hoc eius quo in tenebris decerpitur.

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Book XVI

lasting on in the winter after the leaves have fallen. It contains a kernel resembling the kernel of pine-cones; this grows in winter and opens out in spring. When the leaves have begun to grow, the whole ball falls off. Such is the multiplicity of products in addition to the acorn that are borne by hard-oaks; but they also produce edible fungi and hog-mushrooms, the most recently discovered stimulants of the appetite, which grow round their roots; those of the common oak are the most esteemed, but those of Valonia and cypress and pine are harmful. Valonias also produce mistletoe, and honey as well according to Hesiod, and it is an accepted fact thatw.d. 232. honey-dew falling from the sky,a as we said, deposits itself on the leaves of no other tree in preference toxi. 30 Valonia oak; and it is well known that Valonia wood when burnt produces a nitrous ash.

XII. Nevertheless the holm-oak challenges all theseThe kermes-insect. products of the hard-oak on the score of its scarlet alone. This is a grain, and looks at first like a roughness on a shrub, which is the small pointed-leaf holmoak. The grain is called scolecium, ‘litte worm’.b It furnishes the poor in Spain with the means of paying one out of every two instalments of their tribute. We have stated the use of this grain and the modeix. 140 f. of preparing it when speaking of purple dye. It occurs also in Galatia, Africa, Pisidia and Cilicia, and the worst kind in Sardinia.

XIII. In the Gallic provinces chiefly the acorn-bearingFungus on oaks. trees produce agaric,c which is a white fungus with a strong odour, and which makes a powerful antidote; it grows on the tops of trees, and is phosphorescent at night; this is its distinguishing mark, by which it can be gathered in the dark. Of the

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938