Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 79: 120-121

Go To Section
Go To Section


ἰδίαν ἑκάστου φύσιν. λέγω δὲ οἷον τὰ σταχυώδη καὶ τὰ σκανδικώδη καὶ μονοφυῆ, κἂν εἴ τι ἕτερόν ἐστι τοιοῦτον κοινὸν ἐπὶ πάντων λαβεῖν, ὁ τῇ αἰσθήσει γνώριμον ἢ φύλλοις ἢ ἄνθεσιν ἢ ῥίζαις ἢ καρποῖς· ἐκ γὰρ τῶν φανερῶν ὁ μερισμὸς ὥσπερ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ῥιζῶν.

2Σταχυώδη μὲν οὖν ἐστιν ὅ τε κύνωψ ὑπό τινων καλούμενος πλείους ἔχων ἰδέας ἐν ἑαυτῷ· καὶ ὁ ἀλωπέκουρος καὶ ὁ στελέφουρος ὑπ᾿ ἐνίων δὲ ἀρνόγλωσσον τῶν δὲ ὄρτυξ καλούμενος· παρόμοιον δὲ τούτῳ τρόπον τινὰ καὶ ἡ θρυαλλίς. ἁπλᾶ δὲ καὶ μονοειδῆ τρόπον τινὰ ταῦτα καὶ στάχυν οὐκ ὀξὺν οὐδ᾿ ἀθερώδη ἔχοντα· ὁ δ ἀλωπέκουρος μαλακὸν καὶ χνοωδέστερον, ὅτι καὶ ὅμοιον ταῖς τῶν ἀλωπέκων οὐραῖς, ὅθεν καὶ τοὔνομα μετείληφεν. ὅμοιος δὲ τούτῳ καὶ ὁ στελέφουρος, πλὴν οὐχ ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνος ἀνθεῖ κατὰ μέρος ἀλλὰ δι᾿ ὅλου τοῦ στάχυος ὥσπερ ὁ πυρός. ἡ δὲ ἄνθησις ἀμφοῖν χνοώδης, καθάπερ καὶ τοῦ σίτου· παρόμοιον δὲ τῇ ὅλῃ μορφῇ τῷ πυρῷ πλὴν πλατυφυλλότερον. ὡσαύτως δὲ τούτοις καὶ τὰ ἄλλα τὰ σταχυώδη λεκτέον.

3Τὰ δὲ κιχοριώδη πάντα μὲν ἐπετειόφυλλα καὶ ῥιζόφυλλα, βλαστάνει δὲ μετὰ Πλειάδα πλὴν τῆς ἀπάπης, τοῖς δὲ καυλοῖς καὶ ταῖς ῥίζαις


Enquiry Into Plants, VII. xi.

character of individual kinds. I mean for instance the plants which have a spike,1 those which may be classed with wild chervil,2 and those which have a single stem,3 . . . . or any other such class in which one can find some such general characteristics obvious to the senses either in leaves flowers roots or fruits; (for the classification is to be made by the visible parts, as well as by the roots).4

5An example of the plants which have a spike is the plant which some call ‘dog’s eye6’ (rib-grass), which comprises several forms; we have also ‘foxbrush,’ stelephuros (plantain), which some call ‘lamb’s tongue’ and some ‘quail-plant’; and somewhat similar to this is thryallis. These are simple plants and uniform in character, having a spike which is not pointed nor bearded; while in ‘fox-brush’ it is soft and somewhat downy, in that it actually resembles the brush of a fox, whence also it has obtained its name. Similar to this is stelephuros (plantain), except that it does not, like that plant, flower here and there, but all up the spike like wheat. The bloom of both is downy like that of corn, and the plants in their general appearance resemble wheat, but have broader leaves. Of the other plants which have a spike a similar account may be given.

7The chicory-like plants all have annual leaves and have root-leaves, and they begin to grow after the Pleiad, except dandelion8; but in their stems

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916