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Among those plants which thrive best in cold localities, it will be only proper to mention the aquatic shrubs.1 In the first rank, we find the reed, equally indispensable for the emergencies of war and peace, and used among the appliances2 of luxury even. The northern nations make use of reeds for roofing their houses, and the stout thatch thus formed will last for centuries even; in other countries, too, they make light vaulted ceilings with them. Reeds are employed, too, for writing upon paper, those of Egypt more particularly, which have a close affinity to the papyrus: the most esteemed, however, are the reeds of Cnidos, and those which grow in Asia, on the margin of the Anaitic Lake3 there.

The reed of our country is naturally of a more fungous nature, being formed of a spongy cartilage, which is hollow within, and covered by a thin, dry, woody coat without; it easily breaks into splinters, which are remarkably sharp at the edge. In other respects, it is of a thin, graceful shape, articulated with joints, and tapering gradually towards the top, which ends in a thick, hairy tuft. This tuft is not without its uses, as it is employed for filling the beds used in taverns, in place of feathers; or else, when it has assumed a more ligneous consistency, it is pounded, as we see done among the Belgæ, and inserted between the joints of ships, to close the seams, a thing that it does most effectually, being more tenacious than glue, and adhering more firmly than pitch.

1 The reeds cannot be appropriately ranked among the shrubs.

2 For musical purposes, namely.

3 B. v. c. 20.

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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 36
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