Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 370: 482-483

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Pliny: Natural History

natum est, ut in herbarum natura dicemus. nata est et silva urbi ei proxima imbre piceo crassoque.


LXII. Hedera iam dicitur in Asia nasci. circiter urbis Romae annum ccccxxxx1 negaverat Theophrastus, nec in India nisi in monte Mero, quin et Harpalum omni modo laborasse ut sereret eam in Medis frustra, Alexandrum vero ob raritatem ita coronato exercitu victorem ex India redisse exemplo Liberi patris; cuius dei et nunc adornat thyrsos galeasque etiam ac scuta in Thraciae populis sollemnibus sacris, inimica arboribus satisque omnibus, sepulchra, muros rumpens, serpentium frigori gratissima, ut mirum sit ullum honorem habitum ei.


Duo genera prima ut reliquarum, mas atque femina. maior traditur mas et corpore et folio, duriore etiam ac pinguiore ut et2 flore ad purpuram accedente; utriusque autem similis est rosae silvestri, nisi quod caret odore. species horum generum tres; est enim candida aut nigra hedera, tertiaque vocatur 146helix. etiamnum hae species dividuntur in alias, quoniam est aliqua fructu tantum candida, alia et folio; fructum quoque candidum ferentium aliis densus acinus et grandior, racemis in orbem circumactis qui vocantur corymbi, iidem Silenici cum est minor acinus, sparsior racemus—ut3 simili modo in


Book XVI

laser first grew there, as we shall say in the section dealing with herbaceous plants. Also near thatXIX. 41. city a shower of thick, pitchy rain caused a wood to grow up.

LXII. It is said that ivy now grows in AsiaIvy, its distribution. Minor. Theophrastus about 314 b.c. had stated that it did not grow there, nor yet in India except on Mount Meros, and indeed that Harpalus had used every effort to grow it in Media without success, while Alexander had come back victorious from India with his army wearing wreaths of ivy, because of its rarity, in imitation of Father Liber; and it is even now used at solemn festivals among the peoples of Thrace to decorate the wands of that god, and also the worshippers’ helmets and shields, although it is injurious to all trees and plants and destructive to tombs and walls, and very agreeable to chilly snakes, so that it is surprising that any honour has been paid to it.

There are two primary kinds of ivy, as of the restVarieties of ivy. of the plants, the male and the female. The male is said to have the larger stem and leaf, which also are harder and have more sap, and so it also has a larger flower, approaching purple in colour; but the flower of both male and female resembles the wild rose, except that it has no scent. These kinds each comprise three species, for ivy is white or black and a third species is called helix. Moreover these species divide into others, since one kind only has white fruit but another has a white leaf as well; also in some of those bearing white fruit the berry is closely packed and rather large, hanging in round bunches which are called ‘clusters,’ and also Silenici when the berry is smaller and the bunch less compact—as

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938