Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 216-217

Go To Section
Go To Section

Book XXV

this plant has been soaked the entertainment becomes merrier. As a remedy for snake bites it is crushed in wine.

LX. There is a plant like verbascum which isBlattaria. often taken for it in error, but the leaves are less pale, the stems are more numerous, and the blossom is yellow. When thrown away it attracts moths to itself, and for this reason at Rome it is called blattaria, or moth verbascum.

LXI. Molemonium exudes a milky juice whichMolemonium. thickens like gum. It grows in moist localities, the dose being one denarius given in wine.

LXII. Cinquefoil is known to everyone, beingcinquefoil. popular for its actually producing strawberries. The Greeks call it pentapetes, pentaphyllon, or chamaezelon. When it is dug up it has a red root, which as it dries becomes black and angular. The name is derived from the number of the leaves. The plant itself buds and sheds its leaves with the vine. It is also used in purifying houses.

LXIII. For snake bite is also given in white wineSparganion. the root of the plant that is called sparganion.a

LXIV. Four kinds of daucusb were distinguishedDaucus: four kinds. by Petronius Diodotus. There is no point in giving the details of these, as there are but two species. The most highly valued grows in Crete, the next in Achaia and everywhere in dry districts; it resembles fennel, but has paler, smaller and hairy leaves, a straight stem a foot high, and a root with a very pleasant taste and smell. This kind grows on rocky soils that face the south. The other kinds grow everywhere on earthy hills and cross-paths, but

  • aThis is a strange sentence, for eius should naturally refer to cinquefoil, described in the last Chapter. Jan in his Index actually has: “sparganion quinquefolii radix 25 109.” But sparganion is a plant, bur-weed, of which Dioscorides gives an account. The last sentence of this runs: δίδοται δὲ ἡ ῥίζα καὶ ὁ καρπὸς σὺν οἴνῳ θηριοδήκτοις, IV. 21. The sentence in Pliny seems to be a typical piece of carelessness.
  • bSee Index of Plants.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938