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The laurel is especially consecrated to triumphs, is remarkably ornamental to houses, and guards the portals of our emperors1 and our pontiffs: there suspended alone, it graces the palace, and is ever on guard before the threshold. Cato2 speaks of two varieties of this tree, the Delphic3 and the Cyprian. Pompeius Lenæus has added another, to which he has given the name of "mustax," from the circumstance of its being used for putting under the cake known by the name of "mustaceum."4 He says that this variety has a very large leaf, flaccid, and of a whitish hue; that the Delphic laurel is of one uniform colour, greener than the other, with berries of very large size, and of a red tint approaching to green. He says, too, that it is with this laurel that the victors at Delphi5 are crowned, and warriors who enjoy the honours of a triumph at Rome. The Cyprian laurel, he says, has a short leaf, is of a blackish colour, with an imbricated6 edge, and crisped.

Since his time, however, the varieties have considerably augmented. There is the tinus7 for instance, by some considered as a species of wild laurel, while others, again, regard it as a tree of a separate class; indeed, it does differ from the laurel as to the colour, the berry being of an azure blue. The royal8 laurel, too, has since been added, which has of late begun to be known as the "Augustan:" both the tree, as well as the leaf, are of remarkable size, and the berries have not the usual rough taste. Some say, however, that the royal laurel and the Augustan are not the same tree, and make out the former to be a peculiar kind, with a leaf both longer and broader than that of the Augustan. The same authors, also, make a peculiar species of the bacalia the commonest laurel of all, and the one that bears the greatest number of berries. With them, too, the barren laurel9 is the laurel of the triumphs, and they say that this is the one that is used by warriors when enjoying a triumph—a thing that surprises me very much; unless, indeed, the use of it was first introduced by the late Emperor Augustus, and it is to be considered as the progeny of that laurel, which, as we shall just now have occasion to mention, was sent to him from heaven; it being the smallest of them all, with a crisped10 short leaf; and very rarely to be met with.

In ornamental gardening we also find the taxa11 employed, with a small leaf sprouting from the middle of the leaf, and forming a fringe, as it were, hanging from it; the spadonia,12 too, without this fringe, a tree that thrives remarkably well in the shade: indeed, however dense the shade may be, it will soon cover the spot with its shoots. There is the chamædaphne,13 also, a shrub that grows wild; the Alexandrian14 laurel, by some known as the Idean, by others as the "hypoglottion,"15 by others as the "carpophyllon,"16 and by others, again, as the "hypelates."17 From the root it throws out branches three quarters of a foot in length; it is much used in ornamental gardening, and for making wreaths, and it has a more pointed leaf than that of the myrtle, and superior to it in softness, whiteness, and size: the seed, which lies between the leaves, is red. This last kind grows in great abundance on Mount Ida and in the vicinity of Heraclea in Pontus: it is only found, however, in mountainous districts.

The laurel, too, known as the daphnoides,18 is a variety that has received many different names: by some it is called the Pelasgian laurel, by others the euthalon, and by others the stephanon Alexandri.19 This is also a branchy shrub, with a thicker and softer leaf than that of the ordinary laurel: if tasted, it leaves a burning sensation in the mouth and throat: the berries are red, inclining to black. The ancient writers have remarked, that in their time there was no species of laurel in the island of Corsica. Since then, however, it has been planted there, and has thrived well.

1 We learn from two passages in Ovid that the laurel was suspended over the gates of the emperors. This, as Fée remarks, was done for two reasons: because it was looked upon as a protection against lightning, and because it was considered an emblem of immortality.

2 De Re Rust. 133.

3 Or "laurel of Apollo:" it was into this tree that Daphne was fabled to have been changed. See Ovid's Met. B. i. 1. 557, et seq.

4 Cato, De Re Rust. c. 121, tells us that this cake was made of fine wheat, must, anise, cummin, suet, cheese, and scraped laurel sprigs. Laurel leaves were placed under it when baked. This mixture was considered a light food, good for the stomach!

5 At the Pythian Games celebrated there.

6 Meaning that it curves at the edge, something like a pent-house.

7 Or tine tree, the Viburnum tinus of Linnæus, one of the caprifolia. It is not reckoned as one of the laurels, though it has many of the same characteristics.

8 Regia.

9 The barren laurel of the triumphs was the Laurus nobilis of Linnæus, which has only male flowers.

10 The Laurus vulgaris folio undulato of the Parisian Hortus, Fée says.

11 Not a laurel, nor yet a dicotyledon, Fée says, but one of the Asparagea, probably the Ruscus hypoglossum of Linnæus, sometimes known, however, as the Alexandrian laurel.

12 Or "eunuch" laurel; a variety, probably, of the Laurus nobilis.

13 The "ground laurel:" according to Sprengel, this is the Ruscus racemosus of Linnæus. See B. xxiv. c. 81.

14 From Alexandria in Troas: the Ruscus hypophyllum of Linnæus, it is supposed.

15 "The tongue below." This, Fée justly says, would appear to be a more appropriate name for the taxa, mentioned above.

16 From the berry being attached to the leaf.

17 "The thrower out from below," perhaps.

18 Sprengel thinks that it is the Clematis vitalba of Linnæus. Fuch- sius identifies it with the Daphne laureola of Linnæus; and Fée thinks it may be either that or the Daphne mezereum of Linnæus.

19 "Crown of Alexander."

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