Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 70: 310-311

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οὐ φυουσιν· οἷον κιττὸν καὶ ἐλάαν οὔ φασιν εἶναι τῆς Ἀσίας ἐν τοῖς ἄνω τῆς Συρίας ἀπὸ θαλάττης πένθ᾿ ἡμερῶν· ἀλλ᾿ ἐν Ἰνδοῖς φανῆναι κιττὸν ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ Μηρῷ καλουμένῳ, ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὸν Διόνυσον εἶναι μυθολογοῦσι. δι᾿ ὃ καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος ἀπ᾿ ἐξοδίας λέγεται ἀπιὼν ἐστεφανωμένος κιττῷ εἶναι καὶ αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ στρατιά· τῶν δὲ ἄλλων ἐν Μηδίᾳ μόνον· περικλείειν γὰρ αὕτη δοκεῖ καὶ συνάπτειν πως τῷ Πόντῳ. καίτοι γε διεφιλοτιμήθη Ἅρπαλος ἐν τοῖς παραδείσοις τοῖς περὶ Βαβυλῶνα φυτεύων πολλάκις καὶ πραγματευόμενος, ἀλλ᾿ οὐδὲν ἐποίει πλέον· οὐ γὰρ ἐδύνατο ζῆν ὥσπερ τἆλλα τὰ ἐκ τῆς Ἑλλάδος. τοῦτο μὲν οὖν οὐ δέχεται ἡ χώρα διὰ τὴν τοῦ ἀέρος κρᾶσιν· ἀναγκαίως δὲ δέχεται καὶ πύξον καὶ φίλυραν· καὶ γὰρ περὶ ταῦτα πονοῦσιν οἱ ἐν τοῖς παραδείσοις. ἕτερα δὲ ἴδια φέρει καὶ δένδρα 2καὶ ὑλήματα· καὶ ἔοικεν ὅλως ὁ τόπος ὁ πρὸς ἀνατολὰς καὶ μεσημβρίαν ὥσπερ καὶ ζῶα καὶ φυτὰ φέρειν ἴδια παρὰ τοὺς ἄλλους· οἷον ἥ τε Μηδία χώρα καὶ Περσὶς ἄλλα τε ἔχει πλείω καὶ τὸ μῆλον τὸ Μηδικὸν ἢ τὸ Περσικὸν καλούμενον. ἔχει δὲ τὸ δένδρον τοῦτο φύλλον μὲν ὅμοιον καὶ σχεδὸν ἴσον τῷ τῆς ἀνδράχλης, ἀκάνθας δὲ οἵας ἄπιος ἢ ὀξυάκανθος, λείας δὲ καὶ ὀξείας σφόδρα καὶ ἰσχυράς· τὸ δὲ μῆλον οὐκ ἐσθίεται μέν,


Enquiry Into Plants, IV. iv.

ivy and olive1 do not grow in Asia in the parts of Syria which are five days’ journey from the sea; but that in India ivy2 appears on the mountain called Meros, whence, according to the tale, Dionysus came. Wherefore it is said3 that Alexander, when he came back from an expedition,4 was crowned with ivy,5 himself and his army. But elsewhere in Asia it is said to grow only in Media, for that country seems in a way to surround and join on to the Euxine Sea.6 However,7 when Harpalus took great pains over and over again to plant it in the gardens of Babylon, and made a special point of it, he failed: since it could not live like the other things introduced from Hellas. The country then does not8 admit this plant on account of the climate, and it grudgingly admits the box and the lime; for even these give much trouble to those engaged in the gardens. It also produces some peculiar trees and shrubs. And in general the lands of the East and South appear to have peculiar plants, as they have peculiar animals; for instance, Media and Persia have, among many others, that which is called the ‘Median’ or ‘Persian apple’ (citron).9 This tree10 has a leaf like to and almost identical with that of the andrachne, but it has thorns like those of the pear11 or white-thorn, which however are smooth and very sharp and strong. The ‘apple’ is not

  • 1ἐλάαν conj. Spr.; ἐλάτην MSS. cf. Hdt. 1. 193; Xen. Anab. 4. 4. 13; Arr. Ind. 40.
  • 2κιττὸν conj. W., cf. Arr. Anab. 5. 1. 6; καὶ τὴν UMV; καὶ τῷ Ald. H.
  • 3λέγεται add. W.
  • 4ἐξοδίας UMVP; Ἰνδίας W. with Ald.
  • 5κιττῷ εἶναι conj. W.; εἶτα μεῖναι U; εἶτα μὴ εἶναι MVPAld.
  • 6i.e. and so Greek plants may be expected to grow there. But the text is probably defective; cf. the citation of this passage, Plut. Quaest. Conv. 3. 2. 1.
  • 7καίτοι γε. This sentence does not connect properly with the preceding.
  • 8οὐ add. Sch.
  • 9Plin. 12. 15 and 16; cited also Athen, 3. 26.
  • 10cf. Verg. G. 2. 131–135.
  • 11ἄπιος: ? here=ἀχράς R. Const. cf. C.P. 1. 15. 2.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916