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There is no grain more prolific than wheat, Nature having bestowed upon it this quality, as being the substance which she destined for the principal nutriment of man. A modius of wheat, if the soil is favourable, as at Byzacium,1 a champaign district of Africa, will yield as much as one hundred and fifty2 modii of grain. The procurator of the late Emperor Augustus sent him from that place—a fact almost beyond belief—little short of four hundred shoots all springing from a single grain; and we have still in existence his letters on the subject. In a similar manner, too, the procurator of Nero sent him three hundred and sixty stalks all issuing from a single grain.3 The plains of Leontium in Sicily, and other places in that island, as well as the whole of Bætica, and Egypt more particularly, yield produce a hundred-fold. The most prolific kinds of wheat are the ramose wheat,4 and that known as the "hun- dred-grain"5 wheat. Before now, as many as one hundred beans, too, have been found on a single stalk.

1 See B. xvii. c. 3.

2 We know of no such fruitfulness as this in the wheat of Europe. Fiüeen-fold, as Fée remarks, is the utmost amount of produce that can be anticipated.

3 Fée mentions instances of 150, 92, and 63 stalks arising from a single grain; but all these fall far short of the marvæls here mentioned by Pliny.

4 The Triticum composition of Linnæus; supposed to have originally come from Egypt or Barbary.

5 "Centigranium." Probably the same as the last.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), COMPES
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), ERGA´STULUM
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