Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 70: 2-3

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I. Τῶν φυτῶν τὰς διαφορὰς καὶ τὴν ἄλλην φύσιν ληπτέον κατά τε τὰ μέρη καὶ τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰς γενέσεις καὶ τοὺς βίους· ἤθη γὰρ καὶ πράξεις οὐκ ἔχουσιν ὥσπερ τὰ ζῶα. εἰσὶ δ᾿ αἱ μὲν κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν καὶ τὰ πάθη καὶ τοὺς βίους εὐθεωρητότεραι καὶ ῥᾴους, αἱ δὲ κατὰ τὰ μέρη πλείους ἔχουσι ποικιλίας. αὐτὸ γὰρ τοῦτο πρῶτον οὐχ ἱκανῶς ἀφώρισται τὰ ποῖα δεῖ μέρη καὶ μὴ μέρη καλεῖν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔχει τινὰ ἀπορίαν.

2Τὸ μὲν οὖν μέρος ἅτε ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας φύσεως ὂν ἀεὶ δοκεῖ διαμένειν ἢ ἁπλῶς ἢ ὅταν γένηται, καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς ζώοις τὰ ὕστερον γενησόμενα, πλὴν εἴ τι


Enquiry Into Plants, I. i.

Theophrastus Enquiry Into Plants

Book I

Of the Parts of Plants and Their Composition of Classification.

Introductory: How plants are to be classified; difficulty of defining what are the essential ‘parts’ of a plant, especially if plants are assumed to correspond to animals.

I. In considering the distinctive characters of plants and their nature generally one must take into account their1 parts, their qualities,2 the ways in which their life originates, and the course which it follows in each case: (conduct and activities we do not find in them, as we do in animals). Now the differences in the way in which their life originates, in their qualities and in their life-history are comparatively easy to observe and are simpler, while those shewn3 in their ‘parts’ present more complexity. Indeed it has not even been satisfactorily determined what ought and what ought not to be called ‘parts’ and some difficulty is involved in making the distinction.

Now it appears that by a ‘part,’ seeing that it is something which belongs to the plant’s characteristic nature, we mean something which is permanent either absolutely or when once it has appeared (like those parts of animals which remain for a time undeveloped)—permanent,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916