Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 436-437

Tools

Pliny: Natural History

populus, ornus, carpinus; est in Appennino et frutex qui vocatur cotinus, ad linamenta 74modo conchylii colore insignis. montes et valles diligunt1 abies, robur, castaneae, tilia, ilex, cornus. aquosis montibus gaudent acer, fraxinus, sorbus, tilia, cerasus. non temere in montibus visae sunt prunus, punicae, oleastri, iuglans, mori, sabuci; descendunt et in plana cornus, corylus, quercus, ornus, acer, fraxinus, fagus, carpinus; subeunt et in montuosa ulmus, malus, pirus, laurus, myrtus, sanguinei frutices ilex tinguendisque vestibus nascentis genistae. gaudet frigidis sorbus, sed magis etiam betulla. 75Gallica haec arbor mirabili candore atque tenuitate, terribilis magistratuum virgis, eadem circulis flexilis, item corbium costis; bitumen ex ea Galli excoquunt. in eosdem situs comitantur et spina, nuptiarum facibus auspicatissima, quoniam inde fecerint pastores qui rapuerunt Sabinas, ut auctor est Masurius; nunc facibus carpinus, corylus familiarissimae.

76

XXXI. Aquas odere cupressi, iuglandes, castaneae, laburnum. Alpina et haec arbor, nec vulgo nota, dura ac candida materie, cuius florem cubitalem longitudine apes non adtingunt. odit et quae appellatur Iovis barba, in opere topiario tonsilis et in rotunditatem

436

Book XVI

and hornbeam; on the Apennines there is also a shrub called the cotinus,a famous for supplying a dye for linen cloth that resembles purple. The fir, hard-oak, chestnuts, lime, holm-oak and cornel like mountains and valleys. The maple, ash, service-tree, lime and cherry love mountains watered by springs. The plum, pomegranate, wild olive, walnut, mulberry and elder-trees are not generally found on mountains; and the cornel cherry, hazel, oak, mountain ash, maple, ash, beech, hornbeam come down from the mountains to level ground also, while the elm, apple, pear, bay, myrtle, red cornel, holm-oak and greenweeds,b designed by Nature for dyeing cloth, spread up from the plains to mountain regions as well. The service-tree delights in cold places, but even more the birch. The latter is a Gallic tree, of a remarkable white colour and slenderness, a cause of terror as supplying the magistrates’ rods of office; it is also easily bent to make hoops and likewise the ribs of small baskets, and the Gauls extract from it bitumen by boiling. These trees are accompanied into the same regions by the may also, the most auspicious tree for supplying wedding torches, because according to the account of Masurius it was used for that purpose by the shepherds who carried off the Sabine women; but at the present time the hornbeam and the hazel are most usually employed for torches.

XXXI. The cypress, walnut, chestnut and laburnumTrees that dislike water. dislike water. The last is another Alpine tree, and is not generally known; its wood is hard and white and its flower, which is half a yard long, bees will not touch. The shrub called Jupiter’s beard, used in ornamental gardening and clipped into a

437
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938