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The cytisus1 is also a shrub, which, as a food for sheep; has been extolled with wonderful encomiums by Aristomachus the Athenian, and, in a dry state, for swine as well: the same author, too, pledges his word that a jugerum of very middling land, planted with the cytisus, will produce an income of two thousand sesterces per annum. It is quite as useful as the ervum,2 but is apt to satiate more speedily: very little of it is necessary to fatten cattle; to such a degree, indeed, that beasts of burden, when fed upon it, will very soon take a dislike to barley. There is no fodder known, in fact, that is productive of a greater abundance of milk, and of better quality; in the medical treatment of cattle in particular, this shrub is found a most excellent specific for every kind of malady. Even more than this, the same author recommends it, when first dried and then boiled in water, to be given to nursing women, mixed with wine, in cases where the milk has failed them: and he says that, if this is done, the infant will be all the stronger and taller for it. In a green state, or, if dried, steeped in water, he recommends it for fowls. Both Democritus and Aristomachus promise us also that bees will never fail us so long as they can obtain the cytisus for food. There is no crop that we know of, of a similar nature, that costs a smaller price. It is sown at the same time as barley, or, at all events, in the spring, in seed like the leek, or else planted in the autumn, and before the winter solstice, in the stalk. When sown in grain, it ought to be steeped in water, and if there should happen to be no rain, it ought to be watered when sown: when the plants are about a cubit in height, they are replanted in trenches a foot in depth. It is transplanted at the equinoxes, while the shrub is yet tender, and in three years it will arrive at maturity. It is cut at the vernal equinox, when the flower is just going off; a child or an old woman is able to do this, and their labour may be had at a trifling rate. It is of a white appearance, and if one would wish to express briefly what it looks like, it is a trifoliated shrub,3 with small, narrow leaves. It is always given to animals at intervals of a couple of days, and in winter, when it is dry, before being given to them, it is first moistened with water. Ten pounds of cytisus will suffice for a horse, and for smaller animals in proportion: if I may here mention it by the way, it is found very profitable to sow garlic and onions between the rows of cytisus.

This shrub has been found in the Isle of Cythnus, from whence it has been transplanted to all the Cyclades, and more recently to the cities of Greece, a fact which has greatly increased the supply of cheese: considering which, I am much surprised that it is so rarely used in Italy. This shrub is proof, too, against all injuries from heat, from cold, from hail, and from snow: and, as Hyginus adds, against the depredations of the enemy even, the wood4 produced being of no value whatever.

1 From the various statements of ancient authors, Fée has come to the conclusion that this name was given to two totally different productions. The cytisus which the poets speak of as grateful to bees and goats, and sheep, he takes to be the Medicago arborea of Linnæus, known to us as Medic trefoil, or lucerne; while the other, a tree with a black wood, he considers identical with the Cytisus laburnum of Linnæus, the laburnum, or false ebony tree.

2 A kind of vetch or tare. See B. xviii.

3 "Frutex." When speaking of it as a shrub, he seems to be confounding the tree with the plant.

4 Evidently in allusion to the tree.

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