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There are four varieties of the sorb: there being some that have all the roundness1 of the apple, while others are conical like the pear,2 and a third sort are of an oval3 shape, like some of the apples: these last, however, are apt to be remarkably acid. The round kind is the best for fragrance and sweetness, the others having a vinous flavour; the finest, however, are those which have the stalk surrounded with tender leaves. A fourth kind is known by the name of "torminalis:"4 it is only employed, however, for remedial pur- poses. The tree is a good bearer, but does not resemble the other kinds, the leaf being nearly that of the plane-tree; the fruit, too, is particularly small. Cato5 speaks of sorbs being preserved in boiled wine.

1 The ordinary sorb-apple of horticulturists.

2 The sorb-pear.

3 Varying but little, probably, from the common sorb, the Sorbus domestica of Linnæus.

4 Fée is inclined to think that it is the Sorbus terminalis of Lamarck. Anguillara thinks that it is the Cratægus of Theophrastus, considered by Sprengel to be identical with the Cratægus azarolus of Linnæus. In ripening, the fruit of the sorb undergoes a sort of vinous fermentation: hence a kind of cider made of it.

5 De Re Rust. cc. 7 and 145.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), O´LEA
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