Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 70: 342-343

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ἀμυγδάλαις ἔξωθεν, τὸ δ᾿ ἐντὸς συνελίττεται καθάπερ συνηρτημένον πᾶσιν. ὑποβέβρωται δὲ ταῦτα τὰ δένδρα πάντα κατὰ μέσον ὑπὸ τῆς θαλάττης καὶ ἕστηκεν ὑπὸ τῶν ῥιζῶν, ὥσπερ πολύπους. ὅταν γὰρ ἡ ἄμπωτις γένηται θεωρεῖν 6ἐστιν. ὕδωρ δὲ ὅλως οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῷ τόπῳ· καταλείπονται δέ τινες διώρυχες δι᾿ ὧν διαπλέουσιν· αὗται δ᾿ εἰσὶ θαλάττης· ᾧ καὶ δῆλον οἴονταί τινες ὅτι τρέφονται ταύτῃ καὶ οὐ τῷ ὕδατι, πλὴν εἴ τι ταῖς ῥίζαις ἐκ τῆς γῆς ἕλκουσιν. εὔλογον δὲ καὶ τοῦθ᾿ ἁλμυρὸν εἶναι· καὶ γὰρ οὐδὲ κατὰ βάθους αἱ ῥίζαι. τὸ δὲ ὅλον ἓν τὸ γένος εἶναι τῶν τ᾿ ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ φυομένων καὶ τῶν ἐν τῇ γῇ ὑπὸ τῆς πλημμυρίδος καταλαμβανομένων· καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ μικρὰ καὶ φυκώδη φαινόμενα, τὰ δ᾿ ἐν τῇ γῇ μεγάλα καὶ χλωρὰ καὶ ἄνθος εὔοδμον ἔχοντα, καρπὸν δὲ οἷον θέρμος.

7Ἐν Τύλῳ δὲ τῇ νήσῳ, κεῖται δ᾿ αὕτη ἐν τῷ Ἀραβίῳ κόλπῳ, τὰ μὲν πρὸς ἕω τοσοῦτο πλῆθος εἶναί φασι δένδρων ὅτ᾿ ἐκβαίνει ἡ πλημμυρὶς ὥστ᾿ ἀπωχυρῶσθαι. πάντα δὲ ταῦτα μεγέθη μὲν ἔχειν ἡλίκα συκῆ, τὸ δὲ ἄνθος ὑπερβάλλον τῇ εὐωδίᾳ, καρπὸν δὲ ἄβρωτον ὅμοιον τῇ ὄψει τῷ θέρμῳ. φέρειν δὲ τὴν νῆσον καὶ τὰ δένδρα τὰ ἐριοφόρα πολλά. ταῦτα δὲ φύλλον μὲν ἔχειν παρόμοιον τῇ ἀμπέλῳ πλὴν μικρόν, καρπὸν δὲ οὐδένα φέρειν· ἐν ᾧ δὲ τὸ ἔριον ἡλίκον μῆλον ἐαρινὸν συμμεμυκός· ὅταν δὲ ὡραῖον ᾖ, ἐκπετάννυσθαι


Enquiry Into Plants, IV. vii.

in colour to almonds on the outside, but the inside is coiled up as though the kernels were all united.

1 These trees are all eaten away up to the middle by the sea and are held up by their roots, so that they look like a cuttle-fish. For one may see this at ebb-tide. And there is no rain at all in the district, but certain channels are left, along which they sail, and which are part of the sea. Which, some think, makes it plain that the trees derive nourishment from the sea and not from fresh water, except what they draw up with their roots from the land. And it is reasonable to suppose that this too is brackish; for the roots do not run to any depth. In general they say that the trees which grow in the sea and those which grow on the land and are overtaken by the tide are of the same kind, and that those which grow in the sea are small and look like seaweed, while those that grow2 on land are large and green and have a fragrant flower and a fruit like a lupin.

In the island of Tylos,3 which is situated in the Arabian gulf,4 they say that on the east side there is such a number of trees when the tide goes out that they make a regular fence. All these are in size as large as a fig-tree, the flower is exceedingly fragrant, and the fruit, which is not edible, is like in appearance to the lupin. They say that the island also produces the ‘wool-bearing’ tree (cotton-plant) in abundance. This has a leaf like that of the vine, but small, and bears no fruit; but the vessel in which the ‘wool’ is contained is as large as a spring apple,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916