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In Egypt, too, the capparis1 is found, a shrub with a wood of much greater solidity. The seed of it is a well-known article of food,2 and is mostly gathered together with the stalk. It is as well, however, to be on our guard against the foreign kinds;3 for that of Arabia has certain deleterious properties, that from Africa is injurious to the gums, and that from Marmarica is prejudicial to the womb and causes flatulence in all the organs. That of Apulia, too, is productive of vomiting, and causes derangement in the stomach and intestines. Some persons call this shrub "cynosbaton,"4 others, again, "ophiostaphyle."5

1 The "caper-tree," the Capparis spinosa of Linnæus. Fée suggests that Pliny may possibly allude, in some of the features which he describes, to kinds less known; such, for instance, as the Capparis inermis of Forsk- hal, found in Arabia; the Capparis ovata of Desfontaines, found in Barbary; the Capparis Sinaica, found on Mount Sinai, and remarkable for the size of its fruit; and the Capparis Ægyptiaca of Lamarck, commonly found in Egypt.

2 The stalk and seed were salted or pickled. The buds or unexpanded flowers of this shrub are admired as a pickle or sauce of delicate flavour.

3 Fée remarks that this is not the truth, all the kinds possessing the same qualities. There may, however, have been some difference in the mode of salting or pickling them, and possibly productive of noxious effects.

4 Probably from its thorns, that being the name of the sweet-briar, or dog-rose.

5 "Serpent grapes."

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