Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants

LCL 79: 86-87

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Σικύου δὲ καὶ κολοκύντης τοῦ μὲν εἶναί φασι γένη τῆς δ᾿ οὐκ εἶναι, καθάπερ τῆς ῥαφανῖδος καὶ τῆς γογγυλίδος, ἀλλ᾿ ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ γένει τὰς μὲν βελτίους τὰς δὲ χείρους. τοῦ δὲ σικύου τρία, Λακωνικὸν σκυταλίαν Βοιώτιον· τούτων δὲ ὁ μὲν Λακωνικὸς ὑδρευόμενος βελτίων, οἱ δ᾿ ἕτεροι ἀνύδρευτοι.

7Διαφέρει δὲ γένει καὶ τὰ κρόμυα καὶ τὰ σκόροδα. πλείω δὲ τοῦ κρομύου τὰ γένη, οἷον τὰ κατὰ τὰς χώρας ἐπικαλούμενα Σάρδια Κνίδια Σαμοθράκια, καὶ πάλιν τὰ σητάνια καὶ σχιστὰ καὶ Ἀσκαλώνια. τούτων δὲ τὰ μὲν σητάνια μικρὰ γλυκέα δὲ εὖ μάλα, τὰ δὲ σχιστὰ καὶ ἀσκαλώνια καὶ ταῖς θεραπείαις διαφέροντα καὶ δῆλον ὅτι τῇ φύσει· τὸ γὰρ σχιστὸν τῷ μὲν χειμῶνι μετὰ τῆς κόμης ἐῶσιν ἀργόν, ἅμα δὲ τῷ ἦρι τὰ φύλλα περιαιροῦσι τὰ ἔξω καὶ τὰ ἄλλα θεραπεύουσι· περιαιρεθέντων δὲ τῶν φύλλων ἕτερα βλαστάνει καὶ ἅμα κάτω σχίζεται, δι᾿ ὃ καλοῦσι σχιστά. οἱ δὲ καὶ ὅλως φασὶ πάντων δεῖν, ὅπως ἡ δύναμις εἰς τὸ κάτω καὶ μὴ σπερμοφυῇ. 8τῶν δὲ Ἀσκαλωνίων ἰδία τις ἡ φύσις· μόνα γὰρ <οὐ> σχιστὰ καὶ ὥσπερ ἄγονα ἀπὸ τῆς ῥίζης, ἔτι δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀναυξῆ καὶ ἀνεπίδοτα·


Enquiry Into Plants, VII. iv.

As to cucumber and gourd, it is said that there are various forms of the former, but of the latter, just as in radish and turnip, the differences are only between better and inferior individuals. 1Of the cucumber there are three forms, the Laconian the cudgel-shaped and the Boeotian. Of these the Laconian is better with moisture, the others without it.

2 There are also various kinds of onion and of garlic; those of the onion are the more numerous, for instance, those called after their localities Sardian,3 Cnidian, Samothracian; and again the ‘annual’ the ‘divided’4 (shallot) and that of Ascalon.5 Of these the annual kind is small but very sweet, while the divided and the Ascalonian differ plainly as to their character as well as in respect of their cultivation. For the ‘divided’6 kind they leave untended in winter with its foliage,7 but in spring they strip off8 the outside leaves and tend the plant in other ways; when the leaves are stripped off, others grow, and at the same time division takes place under ground, which is the reason of the name ‘divided.’9 Some indeed say that all kinds should be thus treated, in order that the force of the plant may be directed downwards and it may not go to seed. The Ascalonian kind has a somewhat peculiar character; it is the only kind which does not10 divide and which does not, as it were, reproduce itself from the root; moreover in the plant11 itself there is no power of increasing and multiplying; wherefore

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.theophrastus-enquiry_plants.1916