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Radishes are composed of an outer coat and a cartilaginous substance, and in many instances the rind is found to be thicker than the bark of some trees. This plant is remarkable for its pungency, which increases in proportion to the thickness of the rind: in some cases, too, the surface of it assumes a ligneous nature. Radishes are flatulent1 to a remarkable degree, and are productive of eructations; hence it is that they are looked upon as an aliment only fit for low-bred people,2 and this more particularly if coleworts are eaten directly after them. If, on the other hand, they are eaten with green olives, the eructations produced are not so frequent, and less offensive. In Egypt the radish is held in very high esteem, on account of the abundance of oil3 that is extracted from the seed. In- deed, the people of that country sow this plant in preference to any other, whenever they can get the opportunity, the profits derived from it being larger than those obtained from the cultivation of corn, and the imposts levied upon it considerably less: there is no grain known that yields a larger quantity of oil.

The Greeks have distinguished the radish4 into three different kinds, according to the characteristic features of the leaves, there being the crisped leaf, the smooth leaf, and the wild radish, the leaf of which is smooth, but shorter than that of the others; it is round also, grows in great abundance, and spreads like a shrub. The taste of this last variety is acrid, and it acts medicinally as a strong purgative. In the first kind, again, there are certain differences, determined by the seed, for in some varieties the seed is of an inferior quality, and in others remarkably small: these defects, however, are only found to exist in the kind that has the crisped leaf.

Our own people, again, have found other varieties of the radish: there is the Algidan5 radish, long and transparent, so called from the place of its growth: another, similar to the rape in form, is known as the Syrian radish; it is pretty nearly the mildest and the most tender of them all, and is well able to bear the winter. The very best of all, however, is the one that has been brought from Syria, very recently it would seem, as we do not find it mentioned by any of our writers: it lasts the whole of the winter through. In addition to these kinds, there is another, a wild variety, known by the Greeks as "agrion,"6 and to the people of Pontus as "armon," while others, again, call it "leuce,7 and our people "armoracia;"8 it has more leaves, however, than root.

In testing the quality of the radish, it is the stem more par- ticularly, that is looked at; in those which are acrid to the taste, for instance, it is rounder and thicker than in the others, and grooved with long channels, while the leaves are more unsightly to the eye, being angular and covered with prickles.

The radish requires to be sown in a loose, humid soil, has a great aversion to manure, and is content with a dressing solely of chaff: so fond is it of the cold, that in Germany it is known to grow as large as an infant in size.9 For the spring crop, it is sown immediately after the ides of February;10 and then again about the time of the Vulcanalia,11 this last crop being looked upon as the best: many persons, however, sow radishes in March, April, and September. When the plant begins to grow to any size, it is considered a good plan to cover up the leaves successively, and to earth up the root as well; for the part of it which appears above ground is apt to become hard and pithy. Aristomachus recommends the leaves to be taken off in winter, and the roots to be well moulded up, to prevent the water from accumulating about them; and he says, that by using these precautions, they will be all the finer in summer. Some authors have mentioned a plan of making a hole with a dibble, and covering it at the bottom with a layer of chaff, six fingers in depth; upon this layer the seed is put, and then covered over with manure and earth; the result of which is, according to their statement, that radishes are obtained full as large as the hole so made. It is salt, however, that conduces more particularly to their nutriment, and hence it is that they are often watered with brine; in Egypt, too, the growers sprinkle nitre12 over them, the roots being remarkable for their mildness The salt, too, has the similar effect of removing all their pungency, and when thus treated, they become very similar in their qualities to radishes that have been boiled: for when boiled they become sweet and mild, and eat, in fact, just like turnips.

Medical men recommend raw radishes to be eaten fasting, with salt, for the purpose13 of collecting the crude humours of the viscera; and in this way they prepare them for the action of emetics. It is said, too, that the juices of this plant are absolutely necessary for the cure of certain diseases of the diaphragm; for it has been found by experiment, in Egypt, that the phthiriasis14 which attaches itself to the internal parts of the heart, cannot possibly be eradicated by any other remedy, the kings of that country having ordered the bodies of the dead to be opened and examined, for the purpose of enquiring into certain diseases.

Such, too, is the frivolity of the Greeks, that, in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, it is said, the radish is so greatly preferred to all other articles of diet, as to be represented there in gold, the beet in silver, and the rape in lead.—You might be very sure that Manius Curius was not a native of that country, the general whom, as we find stated in our Annals, the ambassadors of the Samnites found busy roasting rape at the fire, when they came to offer him the gold which he so indignantly refused. Moschion, too, a Greek author, has written a volume on the subject of the radish. These vegetables are considered a very useful article of food during the winter; but they are at all times very injurious to the teeth, as they are apt to wear them away; at all events, they give a polish to ivory. There is a great antipathy between the radish15 and the vine; which last will shrink from the radish, if sown in its vicinity.

1 This property extends to most of the Cruciferæ.

2 "Cibus illiberalis."

3 The variety Oleifera of the Raphanus sativus is still cultivated extensively in Egypt and Nubia for the extraction of the oil. The variety Oleifera of the Brassica napus is also greatly cultivated in Egypt. Fée suggests that Pliny may possibly confound these two plants under the one name of "raphanus." It is worthy of remark, too, that the Colza oil, so much used in France and Belgium for burning in lamps, is expressed from the seed of the Brassica oleracea, a species of cabbage.

4 The Raphanus sativus of Linnæus. This passage, however, down to "crisped leaf," properly applies to the cabbage, and not the radish, Pliny having copied the Greek, and taken the word ράφανος, properly "cabbage," to mean "radish;" which in the later Greek writers it sometimes does, though not in this instance.

5 Mount Algidus was near Tusculum, fifteen miles from Rome. Its coldness contributed greatly to the goodness of its radishes.

6 Or "wild." Fée suggests that this is the Raphanus rusticanus of Lobellius, the Cochllearia Armoracia of Linnæus, the wild radish, or horse- radish.

7 Or "white." From the extreme whiteness of the roots.

8 Probably meaning, "radish of Armorica."

9 Fée suggests that he is here speaking of the beet-root, in reality a native of the north of Europe.

10 Thirteenth of February.

11 The festival of Vulcan, beginning on the twenty-third of August, and lasting eight days.

12 A natural production, the carbonate of sodium of the chemists, known from time immemorial by the name of "natron." See B. xxx. c. 46; from which passage it would appear that it was generally employed for watering the leguminous plants.

13 Dioscorides recommends these puerilities with the cabbage, and not the radish; though Celsus gives similar instructions with reference to the radish.

14 It was a general belief with the ancients that the phthiriasis, or morbus pediculosus, has its seat in the heart. It was supposed also that the juice of the radish was able, by reason of its supposed subtlety, to penetrate the coats of that organ.

15 This is said by other ancient authors, in reference to the cabbage and the vine. See B. xxiv. c. i.

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