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The medlar and the sorb1 ought in propriety to be ranked under the head of the apple and the pear. Of the medlar2 there are three varieties, the anthedon,3 the setania,4 and a third of inferior quality, which bears a stronger resemblance to the anthedon, and is known as the Gallic5 kind. The setania is the largest fruit, and the palest in colour; the woody seed in the inside of it is softer, too, than in the others, which are of smaller size than the setania, but superior to it in the fragrance of their smell, and in being better keepers. The tree itself is one of very ample6 dimensions: the leaves turn red before they fall: the roots are numerous, and penetrate remarkably deep, which renders it almost impossible to grub it up. This tree7 did not exist in Italy in Cato's time.

1 The sorb belongs to the genus pirus of the naturalists.

2 The Mespilus germanica of the botanists.

3 The azarolier, a tree of the south of Europe, the Mespilus apii folio laciniato of C. Bauhin.

4 The Mespilus Italica folio laurino serrato of C. Bauhin, the Mespilus cotoneaster of J. Bauhin.

5 Its identity is matter of uncertainty; but it has been thought to be the Cratægus oxyacantha of modern botanists.

6 By "amplissimus," he must mean that it spreads out very much in proportion to its height, as it is merely a shrub.

7 Fée thinks it a tree indigenous to the north.

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  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • Harper's, Fescennīna
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), FESCENNI´NA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), OLLA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ABELLA
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