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The appearance of the blossom bespeaks the arrival of the spring and the birth anew of the year; this blossom is the very pride and delight of the trees. Then it is that they show themselves quite renewed, and altogether different from what they really are; then it is that they quite revel in the contest with each other which shall excel in the various hues and tints which they display. This merit has, however, been denied to many of them; for they do not all blossom, and there are certain sombre trees which do not participate in this joyous season of the year. The holm-oak, the pitch-tree, the larch, and the pine are never bedecked with blossoms, and with them there is no particular forerunner sent forth to announce the yearly birth of their respective fruits. The same is the case, too, with the cultivated and the wild fig,1 which immediately present their fruit in place of any blossom. Upon the fig, too, it is remarkable that there are abortive fruit to be seen which never ripen.

The juniper, also, is destitute2 of blossom; some writers, however, distinguish two varieties of it, one of which blossoms but bears no fruit,3 while the other has no blossom, but presents the berries immediately, which remain on the tree for so long a period as two years: this assertion, however, is utterly fallacious, and all the junipers always present the same sombre appearance. So, too, in life, the fortunes of many men are ever without their time of blossoming.

1 This statement, as also that relative to the holm oak, and other trees previously mentioned, is quite incorrect. The blossoms of the fig-tree are very much concealed, however, from view in the involucre of the clinanthium.

2 This is not the fact, though the blossom of the juniper is of humble character, and not easily seen. Theophrastus, B. iii. c. 6, only says that it is a matter of doubt, what Pliny so positively affirms.

3 This is the fact; the male tree is sterile, but it fecundates the female.

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load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO HERMES
  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), E´PHESUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), O´STIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), UTICA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ZACYNTHUS
    • Smith's Bio, The'ricles
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (6):
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