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Cato1 considers the culture of the willow as deserving to hold the third rank in estimation, and he gives it precedence to the cultivation of the olive, tillage for corn, or laying out land for pasture. It is not, however, because the willow is the only tree that produces withes; for they may be procured also from the broom, the poplar, the elm, the blood-red cornel, the birch, and the reed itself when split, or else the leaves of that plant, as we know to be the case in Liguria. The vine, also, will furnish them; the bramble, too, with the thorns removed, as well as the twisted hazel. It is a very singular thing, that a wood after it has been beaten and pounded should be found all the stronger for making withes, but such is a striking peculiarity that exists in the willow. The Greek red2 willow is split for this purpose: while the willow3 of Ameria is whiter but more brittle, for which reason it is used in an uncut state for tying. In Asia there are three varieties known of the willow; the black4 willow, which is best adapted for making withes, the white willow, employed for various agricultural purposes, and a third, which is shorter than the others, and known as the helix.5

With us, also, there is the same number of denominations given to as many varieties of the willow; one being known as the viminal or purple willow,6 another as the nitelina,7 from its resemblance to the colour of the nitela, thinner in the trunk than the preceding one, and the third as the Gallic8 kind, being the thinnest of them all.

1 De Re Rust. c. 6. Fée remarks that the notions of modern agriculturists are very different on this point.

2 The Salix purpurea of Linnæus: the Salix vulgaris rubens of C. Bauhin.

3 This belongs, probably, to the Salix helix of Linnæus.

4 Fé equeries whether this may not be the Salix incana of Schrank and Hoffmann, the bark of which is a brown green.

5 Belonging to the Salix helix of Linnæus.

6 Belonging to the Salix purpurea of Linnæus.

7 Field-mouse or squirrel colour. See B. viii. c. 82. The same, probably, as the Salix vitellina of Linnæus.

8 A variety, Fée thinks, of the Salix rubens.

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