Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 70: 312-313

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Theophrastus

εὔοσμον δὲ πάνυ καὶ τὸ φύλλον τοῦ δένδρου· κἂν εἰς ἱμάτια τεθῇ τὸ μῆλον ἄκοπα διατηρεῖ. χρήσιμον δ᾿ ἐπειδὰν τύχῃ <τις> πεπωκὼς φάρμακον <θανάσιμον· δοθὲν γὰρ ἐν οἴνῳ διακόπτει τὴν κοιλίαν καὶ ἐξάγει τὸ φάρμακον·> καὶ πρὸς στόματος εὐωδίαν· ἐὰν γάρ τις ἑψήσῃ ἐν ζωμῷ, ἢ ἐν ἄλλῳ τινὶ τὸ ἔσωθεν τοῦ μήλου ἐκπιέσῃ εἰς τὸ στόμα καὶ καταροφήσῃ, ποιεῖ τὴν ὀσμὴν ἡδεῖαν. 3σπείρεται δὲ τοῦ ἦρος εἰς πρασιὰς ἐξαιρεθὲν τὸ σπέρμα διειργασμένας ἐπιμελῶς, εἶτα ἀρδεύεται διὰ τετάρτης ἢ πέμπτης ἡμέρας· ὅταν δὲ ἁδρὸν ᾖ, διαφυτεύεται πάλιν τοῦ ἔαρος εἰς χωρίον μαλακὸν καὶ ἔφυδρον καὶ οὐ λίαν λεπτόν· φιλεῖ γὰρ τὰ τοιαῦτα. φέρει δὲ τὰ μῆλα πᾶσαν ὥραν· τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἀφῄρηται τὰ δὲ ἀνθεῖ τὰ δὲ ἐκπέττει. τῶν δὲ ἀνθῶν ὅσα, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν, ἔχει καθάπερ ἠλακάτην ἐκ μέσου τιν᾿ ἐξέχουσαν, ταῦτά ἐστι γόνιμα, ὅσα δὲ μὴ ἄγονα. σπείρεται δὲ καὶ εἰς ὄστρακα διατετρημένα, καθάπερ καὶ οἱ φοίνικες. τοῦτο μὲν οὖν, ὥσπερ εἴρηται, περὶ τὴν Περσίδα καὶ τὴν Μηδίαν ἐστίν.

4Ἡ δὲ Ἰνδικὴ χώρα τήν τε καλουμένην ἔχει συκῆν, ἣ καθίησιν ἐκ τῶν κλάδων τὰς ῥίζας ἀν᾿ ἕκαστον ἔτος, ὥσπερ εἴρηται πρότερον· ἀφίησι δὲ οὐκ ἐκ τῶν νέων ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τῶν ἔνων καὶ ἔτι παλαιοτέρων· αὗται δὲ συνάπτουσαι τῇ γῇ ποιοῦσιν ὥσπερ δρύφακτον κύκλῳ περὶ τὸ δένδρον, ὥστε γίνεσθαι καθάπερ σκηνήν, οὗ δὴ καὶ

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Enquiry Into Plants, IV. iv.

eaten, but it is very fragrant, as also is the leaf of the tree. And if the ‘apple’ is placed among clothes, it keeps them from being moth-eaten. It is also useful when one1 has drunk deadly poison; for being given in wine it upsets the stomach and brings up the poison; also for producing sweetness of breath;2 for, if one boils the inner part of the ‘apple’ in a sauce, or squeezes it into the mouth in some other medium, and then inhales it, it makes the breath sweet. The seed is taken from the fruit and sown in spring in carefully tilled beds, and is then watered every fourth or fifth day. And, when it is growing vigorously,3 it is transplanted, also in spring, to a soft well-watered place, where the soil is not too fine; for such places it loves. And it bears its ‘apples’ at all seasons; for when some have been gathered, the flower of others is on the tree and it is ripening others. Of the flowers, as we have said,4 those which have, as it were, a distaff5 projecting in the middle are fertile, while those that have it not are infertile. It is also sown, like date-palms, in pots6 with a hole in them. This tree, as has been said, grows in Persia and Media.

7The Indian land has its so-called ‘fig-tree’ (banyan), which drops its roots from its branches every year, as has been said above8; and it drops them, not from the new branches, but from those of last year or even from older ones; these take hold of the earth and make, as it were, a fence about the tree, so that it becomes like a tent, in

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916