Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 426-427


Pliny: Natural History

aquilonis situ, ex opacis horridior virusque praeferens, frigida hieme deterior ac minus copiosa et decolor. 60quidam arbitrantur in montuosis copia praestantiorem ac colore et dulciorem fieri, odorem quoque gratiorem, dum resina sit, decoctam autem minus picis reddere, quoniam in serum1 abeat, tenuioresque esse ipsas arbores quam in planis, sed has et illas serenitate steriliores. fructum quaedam proxumo anno ab incisu largiuntur, aliae secundo, quaedam tertio. expletur autem plaga resina, non cortice nec cicatrice, quae in hac arbore non coit.


Inter haec genera propriam quidam fecere sappinum, quoniam ex cognatione harum seritur qualis dicta est in nucleis; eiusdemque arboris imas partes taedas vocant, cum sit illa arbor nil aliud quam picea feritatis paulum mitigatae satu, sappinus autem materies caesurae genere fiat, sicuti docebimus.


XXIV. Materiae enim causa reliquas arbores natura genuit copiosissimamque fraxinum. procera haec ac teres, pinnata et ipsa folio, multumque Homeri praeconio et Achillis hasta nobilitata. materies est ad

  • 1V.l. ferum.

Book XVI

shady places has a rougher appearance, and presents an offensive odour; and pitch in a cold winter is inferior in quality and less plentiful in quantity, and of a bad colour. Some people think that the liquid obtained in mountain regions is superior in quantity and colour and sweeter, and also has a more agreeable smell, so long as it remains in the state of resin, but that when boiled down it yields less pitch, because it goes off into a watery residue, and that the trees themselves are thinner than those in the plains, but that both the one and the other kinds are less productive in dry weather. Some trees yield a liberal supply in the year after they are cut, whereas others do so a year later and some two years later. The wound fills up with resin, not with bark or by a scab, as in this tree an incision in the bark does not join up.

Among these classes of trees some people have made a special variety of the sappinus fir, because under the name of this group of trees is grown the kind which we described among the nut-bearingxv. 36. kinds; and the lowest parts of the same tree are called pine-torches, although the tree in question is really only a pitch-pine with its wild character a little modified by cultivation, whereas the sappinus is a timber produced by the mode of felling used, as we shall explain.§ 196.

XXIV. For it is for the sake of their timber thatThe ash: varieties, localities and uses. Nature has created the rest of the trees, and the most productive of them all, the ash. This is a lofty, shapely tree, itself also having feathery foliage, and has been rendered extremely famous by the advertisement given it by Homera as supplying the spear of Achilles. The wood of the ash is useful

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938