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It is in the Gallic provinces more particularly that the glandiferous trees produce agaric;1 such being the name given to a white fungus which has a strong odour, and is very useful as an antidote. It grows upon the top of the tree, and gives out a brilliant light2 at night: this, indeed, is the sign by which its presence is known, and by the aid of this light it may be gathered during the night. The ægilops is the only one among the glandiferous trees that bears a kind of dry cloth,3 covered with a white mossy shag, and this, not only attached to the bark, but hanging down from the branches as well, a cubit even in length: this substance has a strong odour, as we have already4 stated, when speaking of the perfumes.

The cork is but a very small tree, and its acorn is of the very worst5 quality, and rarely to be found as well: the bark6 is its only useful product, being remarkably thick, and if removed it will grow again. When straitened out, it has been known to form planks as much as ten feet square. This substance is employed more particularly attached as a buoy to the ropes7 of ships' anchors and the drag-nets of fishermen. It is employed also for the bungs of casks and as a material for the winter shoes8 of females; for which reason the Greeks not inappropriately call them9 "the bark of a tree."

There are some writers who speak of it as the female of the holm oak; and in the countries where the holm does not grow, they substitute for it the wood of the cork-tree, more particularly in cartwrights' work, in the vicinity of Elis and Lacedæmon for instance. The cork-tree does not grow throughout the whole of Italy, and in no10 part whatever of Gaul.

1 Not the white agaric, Fée says, of modern pharmacy; but, as no kind of agaric is found in the oak, it does not seem possible to identify it. See B. xxv. c. 57.

2 It is evident that no fungus would give out phosphoric light; but it may have resulted from old wood in a state of decomposition.

3 It is pretty clear that one of the lichens of the genus usnea is here referred to. Amadue, or German tinder, seems somewhat similar.

4 B. xii. c. 50.

5 On the contrary, Fée says, the acorn of the Quercus suber is of a sweet and agreeable flavour, and is much sought as a food for pigs. The hams of Bayonne are said to owe their high reputation to the acorns of the corktree.

6 The word "cork" is clearly derived from the Latin "cortex," "bark" See Beckmann's History of Inventions, V. i. p. 320, et seq., Bolrn's Edition, for a very interesting account of this tree.

7 This passage, the meaning of which is so obvious, is discussed at some length by Beckmann, Vol. i. pp. 321, 322.

8 It is still employed for making soles which are impervious to the wet.

9 It is doubtful whether this name was given to the shoes, or the females who wore them, and we have therefore preserved the doubt, in the ambiguous "them." Beckmann also discusses this passage, p. 321. He informs us, p. 322, that the Roman ladies who wished to appear taller than they really were, were in the habit of putting plenty of cork under their soles.

10 At the present day, it grows in the greatest abundance in France, the Landes more particularly.

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