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Theophrastus

ἐλάτης, τὰ δὲ εὔθραυστα μᾶλλον, οἷον τὰ τῆς ἐλάας. καὶ τὰ μὲν ἄοζα, οἷον τὰ τῆς ἀκτῆς, τὰ δὲ ὀζώδη, οἷον τὰ τῆς πεύκης καὶ ἐλάτης.

5Δεῖ δὲ καὶ τὰς τοιαύτας ὑπολαμβάνειν τῆς φύσεως. εὔσχιστον μὲν γὰρ ἡ ἐλάτη τῷ εὐθυπορεῖν, εὔθραυστον δὲ ἡ ἐλάα διὰ τὸ σκολιὸν καὶ σκληρόν. εὔκαμπτον δὲ ἡ φίλυρα καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα διὰ τὸ γλίσχραν ἔχειν τὴν ὑγρότητα. βαρὺ δὲ ἡ μὲν πύξος καὶ ἡ ἔβενος ὅτι πυκνά, ἡ δὲ δρῦς ὅτι γεῶδες. ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα πάντα πρὸς τὴν φύσιν πως ἀνάγεται.

VI. Διαφέρουσι δὲ καὶ ταῖς μήτραις· πρῶτον μὲν εἰ ἔνια ἔχει ἢ μὴ ἔχει, καθάπερ τινές φασιν ἄλλα τε καὶ τὴν ἀκτήν· ἔπειτα καὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἔχουσι· τῶν μὲν γάρ ἐστι σαρκώδης τῶν δὲ ξυλώδης τῶν δὲ ὑμενώδης. καὶ σαρκώδης μὲν οἷον ἀμπέλου συκῆς μηλέας ῥοιᾶς ἀκτῆς νάρθηκος. ξυλώδης δὲ πίτυος ἐλάτης πεύκης, καὶ μάλιστα αὕτη διὰ τὸ ἔνδᾳδος εἶναι. τούτων δ᾿ ἔτι σκληρότεραι καὶ πυκνότεραι κρανείας πρίνου δρυὸς κυτίσου συκαμίνου ἐβένου λωτοῦ.

2Διαφέρουσι δὲ αὐταὶ καὶ τοῖς χρώμασι· μέλαιναι γὰρ τῆς ἐβένου καὶ τῆς δρυός, ἣν καλοῦσι μελάνδρυον. ἅπασαι δὲ σκληρότεραι καὶ κραυρότεραι

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Enquiry Into Plants, I. vi.

as that of the silver-fir, while others are rather breakable,1 such as the wood of the olive. Again some are without knots,2 as the stems of elder, others have knots, as those of fir and silver-fir.

Now such differences also must be ascribed to the essential character of the plant: for the reason why the wood of silver-fir is easily split is that the grain is straight, while the reason why olive-wood is easily broken3 is that it is crooked and hard. Lime-wood and some other woods on the other hand are easily bent because their sap is viscid.4 Boxwood and ebony are heavy because the grain is close, and oak because it contains mineral matter.5 In like manner the other peculiarities too can in some way be referred to the essential character.

Further ‘special’ differences.

VI. Again there are differences in the ‘core’: in the first place according as plants have any or have none, as some say6 is the case with elder among other things; and in the second place there are differences between those which have it, since in different plants it is respectively fleshy, woody, or membranous; fleshy, as in vine fig apple pomegranate elder ferula; woody, as in Aleppo pine silver-fir fir; in the last-named7 especially so, because it is resinous. Harder again and closer than these is the core of dog-wood kermes-oak oak laburnum mulberry ebony nettle-tree.

The cores in themselves also differ in colour; for that of ebony and oak is black, and in fact in the oak it is called ‘oak-black’; and in all these the core is harder and more brittle than the ordinary

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916