Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 178-179


Pliny: Natural History

vocant, nascens per frutecta, nullo odore nec crocis intus, candorem tantum referens ac veluti naturae 24rudimentum lilia facere condiscentis. alba lilia isdem omnibus modis seruntur quibus rosa, et hoc amplius lacrima sua ut hipposelinum, nihilque est fecundius una radice quinquagenos saepe emittente bulbos. est et rubens lilium quod Graeci crinon vocant, alii florem eius cynorrhodon. laudatissimum in Antiochia ac Laudicea Syriae, mox in Phaselide. quartum locum optinet in Italia nascens.


XII. Sunt et purpurea lilia, aliquando gemino caule, carnosiore tantum radice maiorisque bulbi, sed unius, narcissum vocant. huius alterum genus flore candido, calice purpureo. differentia a liliis est et haec, quod narcissis in radice folia sunt, probatissimis in Lyciae montibus. tertio generi cetera eadem, calix herbaceus. omnes serotini, post arcturum enim florent ac per aequinoctium autumnum.


XIII. Inventa est et in his ratio inficiendi1 monstrifica2 hominum ingeniis. colligantur3 namque


Book XXI

springs up among shrubs. Without perfume and without the yellow anthers in the centre, it resembles the lily only in colour, being as it were a first attempt by Nature when she was learning to produce lilies. White lilies are propagated by all the means that roses are;a more than this, by a peculiar tear-like gum of its own, as is also horse-parsley. No plant is more prolific, a single root often sending out fifty bulbs. There is also a red lily that the Greeks call crinon,b some calling its blossom the dog-rose.c The most esteemed kind grows at Antioch and at Laodicea in Syria, next to them comes that of Phaselis. The fourth place is held by the kind growing in Italy.

XII. There is also a bright-red lily,d having sometimes a double stem, and differing from other lilies only in having a fleshier root and a larger bulb, and that undivided. It is called the narcissus. Another variety of it has a white flower and a reddish bud. There is this further difference between the ordinary lily and the narcissus, that the leaves of the latter grow straight out of the root. The most popular sort is found on the mountains of Lycia. A third kind has all its characteristics the same as those of the other kinds, except that the cupe is light green. All the narcissi blossom late, for the flower comes after the rising of Arcturusf and during the autumnal equinox.

XIII. In lily-culture a strange means of dyeing the blooms has been invented by the wit of man. For in the month of July drying stems of the lily

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938