previous next


We find a most remarkable and, indeed, a marvellous peculiarity1 existing in the elm, the lime, the olive, the white poplar, and the willow; for immediately after the summer solstice the leaves of these trees turn completely round; indeed, we have no sign which indicates with greater certainty that that period has past.

(24.) These trees also present in their leaves the same difference that is to be observed in those of all the rest: the underside, which looks towards the ground, is of a green, grassy colour, and has a smooth surface;2 while the veins, the callous skin, and the articulations, lie upon the upper face, the veins making incisions in the parts beneath, like those to be seen upon the human hand. The leaf of the olive is whiter above, and not so smooth; the same is the case, too, with that of the ivy. The leaves of all trees turn3 every day towards the sun, the object being that the under side may be warmed by its heat. The upper surface of them all has a down upon it, in however small quantity it may be; in some countries this down is used as a kind of wool.4

1 See B. xviii. c. 68, where he enlarges still further on this asserted peculiarity; he borrows his statement from Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. i. c. 16.

2 These statements are quite conformable with the fact.

3 This statement is quite true, so far as the fact that the leaves have not the same position in the day-time as during the night: the changes of position vary greatly, however, in the different kinds. It is generally thought that an organic irritability is the cause of this phenomenon.

4 This seems to be the meaning of "In aliis gentium lana est." He alludes, probably, to cotton or silk: see B. vi. c. 20. Thunberg tells us that at Roodesand, near the Cape of Good Hope, there grows so thick a down on the Buplevrum giganteum of Lamarck, that it is employed to imitate a sort of white velvet, and is used for bonnets, gloves, stockings, &c.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • Harper's, Domus
    • Harper's, Tegŭla
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DOMUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SAGITTA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TEGULA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), RHENUS
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: