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CHAP. 25. (12.)—COSTUS.

A root and a leaf, however, are the productions which are held in the very highest estimation in India. The root is that of the costus;1 it has a burning taste in the mouth, and a most exquisite odour; in other respects, the branches are good for nothing. In the island of Patale,2 situate at the very mouth of the river Indus, there are two kinds of costus found, the black and the white; the last is considered the best. The price of it is five denarii per pound.

1 According to most commentators, this is the Costus Arabicus of Linnæus. Dioscorides mentions three varieties of costus: the Arabian, which is of the best quality, and is white and odoriferous; the Indian, which is black and smooth; and the Syrian, which is of the colour of wax, dusky, and strong smelling. Fée, however, doubts whether the modern costus is the same thing as that of the ancients; for, as he says, although it has a sweet odour, it does not deserve the appellation of a "precious aromatic," which we find constantly given to it by the ancients.

2 See B. vi. c. 23.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), JERICHO
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