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All trees germinate, however,1 even those which do not blossom. In this respect there is a very considerable difference in relation to the various localities; for in the same species we find that the tree, when planted in a marshy spot, will germinate earlier than elsewhere; next to that, the trees that grow on the plains, and last of all those that are found in the woods: the wild pear, too, is naturally later in budding than the other pears. At the first breath of the west wind2 the cornel buds, and close upon it the laurel; then, a little before the equinox, we find the lime and the maple germinating. Among the earlier trees, too, are the poplar, the elm, the willow, the alder, and the nut-trees. The plane buds, too, at an early period.

Others, again, germinate at the beginning of spring, the holly, for instance, the terebinth, the paliurus,3 the chesnut, and the glandiferous trees. On the other hand, the apple is late in budding, and the cork-tree the very last of all. Some trees germinate twice, whether it is that this arises from some exuberant fertility of the soil, or from the inviting temperature of the atmosphere; this takes place more particularly in the several varieties of the cereals. Excessive germination, however, has a tendency to weaken and exhaust the tree.

Besides the spring budding, some trees have naturally another budding, which depends upon the influence of their own respective constellations,4 a theory which we shall find an opportunity of more conveniently discussing in the next Book but one.5 The winter budding takes place at the rising of the Eagle, the summer at that of the Dog-star, and a third budding6 again at that of Arcturus. Some persons think that these two buddings are common to all trees, but that they are to be remarked more particularly in the fig, the vine, and the pomegranate; seeing that, when this is the case, the crop of figs, in Thessaly and Macedonia more particularly, is remarkably abundant: but it is in Egypt more especially that illustrations of this vast abundance are to be met with. All the trees in general, when they have once begun to germinate, proceed continuously with it; the robur, however, the fir-tree, and the larch germinate intermittently, ceasing thrice, and as many times7 beginning to bud again, and hence it is that they shed the scales of their bark8 three several times; a thing that takes place with all trees during the period of germination, the outer coat of the tree bursting while it is budding.

With these last trees the first budding takes places9 at the beginning of spring, and lasts about fifteen days; and they germinate a second time when the sun is passing through the sign of Gemini: hence it is that we see the points of the first buds pushed upwards by those beneath, a joint marking the place where they unite.10 The third germination of these trees takes place at the summer solstice, and lasts no more than seven days: at this period we may very distinctly detect the articulations by which the buds are joined to one another as they grow. The vine is the only tree that buds twice; the first time when it first puts forth the grape, and the second time when the grape comes to maturity. In the trees which do not blossom there is only the budding, and then the gradual ripen- ing of the fruit. Some trees blossom while they are budding, and pass rapidly through that period; but the fruit is slow in coming to maturity, as in the vine, for instance. Other trees, again, blossom and bud but late, while the fruit comes to maturity with great rapidity, the mulberry,11 for example, which is the very last to bud of all the cultivated trees, and then only when the cold weather is gone: for this reason it has been pronounced the wisest among the trees. But in this, the germination, when it has once begun, bursts forth all over the tree at the very same moment; so much so, indeed, that it is accomplished in a single night, and even with a noise that may be audibly heard.12

1 These remarks, borrowed from Theophrastus, are generally consistent with our experience.

2 Fée remarks that Pliny here copies from Theophrastus, a writer of Greece, without making allowance for the difference of localities. Theophrastus, however, gives the laurel an earlier period for budding than Pliny does.

3 The Rhamnus paliurus of Linnæus.

4 This is entirely fanciful: though it is the case that in some trees, the ligneous ones, namely, there are two germinations in the year, one at the beginning of spring, which acts more particularly on the branches, and the other at the end of summer, which acts more upon the parts nearer the roots.

5 See B. xviii. c. 57.

6 There is no such thing as a third budding.

7 As already stated, there are never more than two germinations.

8 This rupture of the epidermis, caused by the formation beneath of new ligneous and conical layers, takes place not solely, as Pliny and Theophrastus state, at the time of germination, but slowly and continuously.

9 On the contrary, they are irregular both in their commencement and their duration.

10 This is not the case; each bud is independent of the one that has preceded it. A sucker, however, newly developed may give birth to buds not at the extremity, but throughout the whole length of it.

11 See B. xviii c. 67. What Pliny says here is in general true, though its germination does not take place with such rapidity as he states.

12 A mere fable, of course.

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