Διὰ τί τὸ θαλάττιον ὕδωρ οὐ τρέφει τὰ δένδρα;
Πότερον δι᾿ ἣν αἰτίαν οὐδὲ τῶν ζῴων τὰ χερσαῖα; ζῷον γὰρ ἔγγαιον τὸ φυτὸν εἶναι1 οἱ περὶ Πλάτωνα Dκαὶ Ἀναξαγόραν καὶ Δημόκριτον οἴονται· οὐ γὰρ2 διότι τοῖς ἐναλίοις φυτοῖς τρόφιμόν ἐστι καὶ πότιμον ὥσπερ τοῖς ἰχθύσιν, ἤδη καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ χέρσῳ φυτά τε καὶ δένδρα τρέφει· οὔτε γὰρ2 ἐνδύεται ταῖς ῥίζαις ὑπὸ πάχους οὔτ᾿ ἀναφέρεται3 ὑπὸ βάρους4· ὅτι δ᾿ ἐμβριθές ἐστι καὶ γεῶδες, ἄλλοις τε πολλοῖς ἀποδείκνυται καὶ τῷ μᾶλλον ἀνέχειν καὶ ὑπερείδειν τὰ πλοῖα καὶ τοὺς κολυμβῶντας.
- 1εἶναι U2α: ἐστὶν U1H? ἐστίν, ὡς, cf. Castiglioni, Gnomon, xxix (1957), p. 334.
- 2οὐ γὰρ and ἤδη . . . οὐδὲ γὰρ U2a: om. U1H, see introd. p. 145. Doehner changed οὐδὲ to oὔτε.
- 3After ἀναφέρεται Psellus adds ταχέως εἰς τὸ στέλεχος καὶ τοὺς ἀκρέμονας.
- 4βάρους Bernardakis: πάχους U1 τοῦ πάχους U2 τοῦ βάρους aU3
- 5θαλάττιον Bernardakis: βλάπτον U1H τῆς θαλάσσης ὕδωρ U2α.
- 6τε F. H. S.: γε.
Causes of Natural Phenomena
Why does sea-water not provide trees with nourishment?
Is the reason the same as that for which it provides none for land-animals either, seeing that Plato,a Anaxagoras, and Democritusb think that a plant is an animal fixed in the earth? The fact that sea-water is nutritious for, and can be imbibed by, marine plants as well as fishes, does not immediately imply that it is also good for the plants and trees that grow on dry land. For one thing it is too thick to make its way into their roots, and for another it is too heavy to rise <up their stems>.c There are many proofs that it is heavy and earthy, in particular the fact that it holds up and supports boats and swimmers more than fresh water does.d
Or is it that trees are damaged above all by dryness, and sea-water has a drying effect? (This effect explains why salt is a safeguard against putrefaction,
- aRepublic, 491 d, 564 a, Timaeus, 90 a (cf. Epinomis, 981 d), all passages that imply rather than state this opinion.
- bDiels-Kranz, Frag. der Vorsok. i, p. 297 (Ps.-Aristotle, De Plantis, 815 b 16): Anaxagoras and Democritus said that plants have mind and intelligence.
- cPsellus has, “rise quickly into the stem and twigs,” but he may as well have invented this as found it in his text of Plutarch.
- dCf. Quaest. Conviv. 627 b.