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On the other hand, the wood of the cucus1 is held in very high esteem. It is similar in nature to the palm, as its leaves are similarly used for the purposes of texture: it differs from it, however, in spreading out its arms in large branches. The fruit, which is of a size large enough to fill the hand, is of a tawny colour, and recommends itself by its juice, which is a mixture of sweet and rough. The seed in the inside is large and of remarkable hardness, and turners use it for making curtain rings.2 The kernel is sweet, while fresh; but when dried it becomes hard to a most remarkable degree, so much so, that it can only be eaten after being soaked in water for several days. The wood is beautifully mottled with circling veins,3 for which reason it is particularly esteemed among the Persians.

1 Many have taken this to be the cocoa-nut tree; but, as Fée remarks, that is a tree of India, and this of Egypt. There is little doubt that it is the doum of the Arabs, the Cucifera Thebaica of Delille. The timber of the trunk is much used in Egypt, and of the leaves carpets, bags, and panniers are made. In fact, the description of it and its fruit is almost identical with that here given by Pliny.

2 The seed or stone of the doum is still used in Egypt for making the beads of chaplets: it admits of a very high polish.

3 Materies crispioris elegantiæ.

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