Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 190-191

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Pliny: Natural History

tenera tenuioribus, et non nisi in maritimis nascens. sunt qui in mediterraneis eodem nomine appellent, simplici caule, minimis foliis, floris copiosi erumpentis cum uva maturescit, odore non iniucundo. quam1 quidam botryn, alii ambrosiam vocant, talis in Cappadocia nascitur.

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XXXVII. Nymphaea nata traditur nympha zelotypia erga Herculem mortua—quare heracleon vocant aliqui, alii rhopalon a radice clavae simili—ideoque eos qui biberint eam xii diebus coitu genituraque privari. laudatissima in Orchomenia 76et Marathone. Boeoti mallon vocant et semen edunt. nascitur in aquosis, foliis magnis in summa aqua et aliis ex radice, flore lilio simili et, cum defloruit, capite papaveris, levi2 caule. secatur autumno radix nigra, in sole siccatur. adversatur lieni.3 est et alia nymphaea in Thessalia, amne Penio, radice alba, capite luteo, rosae magnitudine.

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Book XXV

slender leaves, growing only near the sea-side. There are some who in inland districts call by the same name a plant with a single stem, very small leaves, abundant blossom bursting out when the grapes are ripening, and with a not unpleasant smell. The sort that some call botrys, and others ambrosia, grows in Cappadocia.a

XXXVII. According to tradition nymphaea wasNymphaea. born of a nymph who died of jealousy about Hercules—for this reason some call it heracleon, others rhopalon because its root is like a club—and therefore those who have taken it in drink for twelve days are incapable of intercourse and procreation.b The most valued kind grows in the district of Orchomenos and at Marathon. The Boeotians call it mallon,c and eat the seed. It grows in watery places, with large leaves on the top of the water and others growing out of the root; the flowers are like the lily, and when the blossom is finished a head forms like that of the poppy; the stem is smooth.d In autumn is cut the root, which is dark, and is dried in the sun. It reduces the spleen. There is another kind of nymphaea growing in the River Peniuse in Thessaly. It has a white root, and a yellow head of the size of a rose.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938