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Egypt, too, produces another tree of a peculiar description, the Persian1 tree, similar in appearance to the pear-tree, but retaining its leaves during the winter. This tree produces without intermission, for if the fruit is pulled to-day, fresh fruit will make its appearance to-morrow: the time for ripening is while the Etesian2 winds prevail. The fruit of this tree is more oblong than a pear, but is enclosed in a shell and a rind of a grassy colour, like the almond; but what is found within, instead of being a nut as in the almond, is a plum, differing from the almond3 in being shorter and quite soft. This fruit, although particularly inviting for its luscious sweetness, is productive of no injurious effects. The wood, for its goodness, solidity, and blackness, is in no respect inferior to that of the lotus: people have been in the habit of making statues of it. The wood of the tree which we have mentioned as the "balanus,"4 although very durable, is not so highly esteemed as this, as it is knotted and twisted in the greater part: hence it is only employed for the purposes of shipbuilding.

1 Fée identifies it with the Egyptian almond, mentioned by Pliny in B. xv. c. 28; the Myrobalanus chebulus of Wesling, the Balanites Ægyptiaca of Delille, and the Xymenia Ægyptiaca of Linnæus. Schreber and Sprengel take it to be the Cordia Sebestana of Linnæus; but that is a tree peculiar to the Antilles. The fruit is in shape like a date, enclosing a large stone with five sides, and covered with a little viscous flesh, of somewhat bitter, though not disagreeable flavour. It is found in the vicinity of Sennaar, and near the Red Sea. The Arabs call it the "date of the Desert."

2 See B. xviii. c. 68.

3 See B. xv. c. 34.

4 Or ben. See B. xii. cc. 46, 47.

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