Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 79: 192-193

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τὰ πλεῖστα ποιοῦσιν ἄλφιτα· κριθοφόρος γὰρ ἀρίστη· τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐχ ὅταν πλεῖσται γένωνται ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν λάβῃ τινὰ κρᾶσιν. ἐν δὲ τῇ Φωκίδι περὶ Ἐλάτειαν οἱ πυροὶ ποιοῦσιν ἡμιόλια τὰ ἄλευρα, καὶ ἐν Σόλοις τῆς Κιλικίας καὶ οἱ πυροὶ καὶ αἱ κριθαί· καὶ παρ᾿ ἄλλοις ἄλλα πρὸς ἅπερ εὐφυὴς ἑκάστη. βελτίω μὲν οὖν καὶ χείρω τὰ σπέρματα καὶ διὰ τὴν ἐργασίαν καὶ διὰ τὴν γῆν γίνεται· καὶ γὰρ ἀπαγριοῦται καὶ ἡμεροῦται, καθάπερ τὰ δένδρα· καὶ ὅλως μεταβάλλει <κατὰ> τὴν χώραν, ὥσπερ τινὰ τῶν δένδρων εὐθὺς ἕστηκε πρὸς τὸ χεῖρον.

3Γένος δ᾿ ὅλον ἐξαλλάττειν εἰς ἕτερον οὐδὲν ἄλλο πέφυκε πλὴν τίφη καὶ ζειά, καθάπερ εἴπομεν ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις, καὶ ἡ αἶρα δ᾿ ἐκ τῶν πυρῶν καὶ κριθῶν διαφθειρομένων· ἢ εἰ μὴ τοῦτο ἀλλὰ φιλεῖ γε μάλιστα ἐν τοῖς πυροῖς γίνεσθαι, καθάπερ καὶ ὁ μελάμπυρος ὁ Ποντικὸς καὶ τὸ τῶν βολβῶν σπέρμα, καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ἐν ἄλλοις τῶν σπερμάτων· ἐπεὶ καὶ ὁ αἰγίλωψ δοκεῖ μᾶλλον ἐν ταῖς κριθαῖς, ἐν δὲ τοῖς φακοῖς ἄρακος τὸ τραχὺ καὶ σκληρόν, ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἀφάκαις ὁ πελεκῖνος ὅμοιον τῇ ὄψει τῷ πελέκει· σχεδὸν δὲ καθ᾿ ἕκαστόν ἐστι τὸ συνεκτρεφόμενον καὶ συναναμιγνύμενον


Enquiry Into Plants, VIII. viii.

more meal than anywhere else, since it is an excellent land for that crop; and this is so, not merely when a very large crop is sown, but when the weather has been favourable for it. And in Phocis about Elateia the wheats produce half as much meal again as elsewhere; while at Soli in Cilicia this is true of both wheat and barley; and in other parts there are other crops for which the soil is severally well adapted. Wherefore grain turns out better or worse because of the soil as well as because of cultivation; for in some places it changes into the cultivated from the wild form, or the reverse, like trees; and in general it changes according1 to the soil in which it is grown, just as some2 trees, when transplanted, forthwith deteriorate.

Of degeneration of cereals, and of the weeds which infest particular crops.

But no kind can change altogether into another, except one-seeded wheat and rice-wheat,3 as we said4 in our previous discussions, and darnel which comes from degenerate wheat and barley: at least, if this is not the true account, darnel loves chiefly to appear among wheat, as does the Pontic5 melampyros and the seed of purse-tassels,6 even as other seeds appear in other crops; thus aigilops seems to grow for choice among barley, and among lentils the rough hard kind of arakos, while among tares occurs the axe-weed,7 which resembles an axe-head in appearance. Indeed in the case of nearly every crop there is a plant which grows up with it and

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916