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In the East, it is a very remarkable thing, that immediately after leaving Coptos, as we pass through the deserts, we find nothing whatever growing, with the exception of the thorn that is known as the "thirsty"1 thorn; and this but very rarely. In the Red Sea, however, there are whole forests found growing, among which more particularly there are plants that bear the laurel-berry and the olive;2 when it rains also certain fungi make their appearance, which, as soon as they are touched by the rays of the sun, are turned into pumice.3 The size of the shrubs is three cubits in height; and they are all filled with sea-dogs,4 to such a degree, that it is hardly safe to look at them from the ship, for they will frequently seize hold of the very oars.

1 "Sitiens." Delille considers this as identical with his Acacia seyal, a thorny tree, often to be seen in the deserts of Africa.

2 Probably zoophytes now unknown.

3 Fée suggests that he may allude to the Madrepora fungites of Linnæus, the Fungus lapideus of Bauhin, These are found in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean; but, of course, the story of their appearance during rain is fabulous.

4 Sharks; see B. ix. c. 70.

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