CHAP. 51.—PLANTS OF THE INDIAN SEA.
of Alexander who navigated the Indian seas,
have left an account of a marine tree, the foliage of which is
green while in the water; but the moment it is taken out, it
dries and turns to salt. They have spoken also of bulrushes2
of stone bearing a strong resemblance to real ones, which grew
along the sea-shore, as also certain shrubs3
in the main sea,
the colour of an ox's horn, branching out in various directions, and red at the tips. These, they say, were brittle, and
broke like glass when touched, while, on the other hand, in
the fire they would become red-hot like iron, and when cool
resume their original colour.
In the same part of the earth also, the tide covers the
forests that grow on the islands, although the trees there are
than the very tallest of our planes and poplars!
The leaves of these trees resemble that of the laurel, while the
blossom is similar to the violet, both in smell and colour: the
berries resemble those of the olive, and they, too, have an
agreeable smell: they appear in the autumn, and the leaves
of the trees never fall off. The smaller ones are entirely
covered by the waves, while the summits of those of larger
size protrude from the water, and ships are made fast to them;
when the tide falls the vessels are similarly moored to the roots.
We find the same persons making mention of certain other
trees which they saw out at sea, which always retained their
leaves, and bore a fruit very similar to the lupine.