Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 434-435


Pliny: Natural History

diffusius et densitate parietum, virens semper ac 71tonsile. buxus Pyrenaeis ac Cytoriis montibus plurima et Berecyntio tractu, crassissima in Corsica, flore1 spernendo, quae causa amaritudinis mellis; semen cunctis animantibus invisum. nec in Olympo Macedoniae gracilior, sed brevis. amat frigida, aspera;2 in igni quoque duritia quae ferro, nec flamma nec carbone utili.


XXIX. Inter has atque frugiferas materie vitiumque amicitia accipitur ulmus. Graeci duo genera eius novere: montanam3 quae sit amplior, campestrem quae fruticosa. Italia Atinias vocat excelsissimas (et ex is siccaneas praefert quae non sint riguae), alterum genus Gallicas, tertium nostrates, densiore folio et ab eodem pediculo numerosiore, quartum silvestre. Atiniae non ferunt samaram—ita vocatur ulmi semen—omnesque radicum plantis proveniunt, reliquae et4 semine.


XXX. Nunc celeberrimis arborum dictis quaedam in universum de cunctis indicanda sunt. montes amant cedrus, larix, taeda et ceterae e quibus resina gignitur, item aquifolia, buxus, ilex, iuniperus, terebinthus,


Book XVI

as I believe of the wild box, which spreads more than the others and forms a thick hedge; it is an evergreen, and will stand clipping. The box abounds in the Pyrenees and the Kidros mountains and in the Berecyntus district, and it grows thickest in Corsica, where it bears an objectionable blossom, which causes the bitter taste in Corsican honey; its seed arouses the aversion of all living creatures. The box on Mount Olympus in Macedonia makes as thick a growth as the Corsican, but it is of a low height. Box loves cold and rugged places; also in a fire it is as hard as iron, and is of no use for fuel or charcoal.

XXIX. Among these and the fruit-bearing treesThe elm. a place is given to the elm, because of its timber and the friendship between it and the vine.a The Greeks are acquainted with two kinds of elm: the mountain elm which makes the larger growth, and the elm of the plains which grows like a shrub.b Italy gives the name of Atinian elm to a very lofty kind (and among these values highest the dry variety, which will not grow in damp places); a second kind it calls the Gallic elm, a third, which has thicker foliage and more leaves growing from the same stalk, the Italian elm, and a fourth, the wild elm. The Atinian elm does not bear samara—that is the name for elm seed—and all the elms are grown from shoots of the roots,c but the other kinds also from seed.

XXX. The most notable trees having now beenDistribution of various trees. mentioned, some general facts must be pointed out concerning all trees. The cedar, the larch, the torch-pine and the rest of the trees that produce resin love mountains, and so also do the holly, box, holmoak, juniper, turpentine-tree, poplar, mountain ash

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938