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Young trees are unproductive1 so long as they are growing. The fruits which fall most readily before they come to maturity are the date, the fig, the almond, the apple, the pear, and the pomegranate, which last tree is also very apt to lose its blossom through excessive dews and hoar frosts. For this reason it is, too, that the growers bend the branches of the pomegranate, lest, from being straight, they may receive and retain the moisture that is so injurious to them. The pear and the almond,2 even if it should not rain, but a south wind happen to blow or the weather become cloudy, are apt to lose their blossoms, and their first fruit as well, if, after the blossom has fallen, there is a continuance of such weather. But it is the willow that loses its seed the most speedily of all, long, indeed, before it is ripe; hence it is that Homer has given it the epithet of "fruit- losing."3 Succeeding ages, however, have given to this term an interpretation conformable to their own wicked practices, it being a well-known fact that the seed of the willow has the effect of producing barrenness in females. In this respect, however, Nature has employed her usual foresight, bestowing but little care upon the seed of a tree which is produced so easily, and propagated by slips. There is, however, it is said, one variety of willow,4 the seed of which arrives at maturity: it is found in the Isle of Crete, at the descent from the grotto of Jupiter: the seed is unsightly and ligneous, and in size about as large as a chick-pea.

1 This must not be taken to the letter; indeed, Fée thinks that the proper meaning is:—"Young trees do not produce fruit till they have arrived at a certain state of maturity." Trees mostly continue on the increase till they die.

2 See B. xvii. c. 2. The assertion here made has not been confirmed by experience.

3 "Frugiperda:" in the Greek, ὠλεσίκαρπον. See Homer. Od. x. 1. 510. It has been suggested, Pliny says, that the willow seed had this epithet from its effect in causing abortion; but he does not seem to share the opinion.

4 This cannot be a willow, Fée remarks; indeed, Theophrastus, E. iii. c. 5, speaks of a black poplar as growing there.

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