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On the frontiers of India is a country called Ariana, which produces a thorny shrub,1 rendered precious by the tears which it distils. It bears some resemblance to myrrh, but is very difficult of access, by reason of the thorns with which it is armed. Here, too, a poisonous shrub is found, with a root like the radish,2 and leaves like those of the laurel, By its powerful odour it attracts horses, and was very nearly depriving Alexander of all his cavalry upon his first arrival there, an accident which also happened in Gedrosia. A thorny shrub3 has been also spoken of as a native of the same country, with leaves like those of the laurel, the juice of which, if sprinkled upon the eyes, is productive of blindness in all animals. Another plant is also mentioned, with a most remarkable odour, and full of diminutive serpents,4 the sting of which is sure to cause instant death. Onesicritus states, that in the vallies of Hyrcania, there is a tree resembling the fig, and known as the occhus,5 from which a honey distils for two hours every morning.

1 It is unknown what plant is here alluded to by Pliny, but Sprengel suggests that it is the Acacia latronum.

2 From the description, this would appear to be a sort of poisonous horse-radish.

3 There is a tree in India, as we are informed by Fée, which is known as the Exæcaria Agallochum, the juice of which is remarkably acrid. Sailors, on striking it with a hatchet, and causing the juice to spirt into their eyes, have been in danger of losing their sight. It is possible that this may be the tree here alluded to by Pliny.

4 He borrows the account of this marvellous shrub from Theophrastus. No such plant is likely to have ever existed; though small, and even large, snakes may occasionally take refuge among shrubs and hollow trees.

5 There is little doubt that the Hedysarum Alhagi of Linnæus is here meant, from which a kind of honey or manna flows, known as "Eastern " manna, or tereniabin. It is not so high as the fig-tree, and is found in Khorasan, Syria, Mesopotamia, and elsewhere. The manna distils prin- cipally in the morning.

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