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As the similitude which exists between their Greek names1 has caused most persons to mistake the one for the other, we have thought it as well to give some account here of sile or hartwort,2 though it is a plant which is very generally known. The best hartwort is that of Massilia,3 the seed of it being broad and yellow; and the next best is that of Æthiopia, the seed of which is of a darker hue. The Cretan hartwort is the most odoriferous of the several kinds. The root of this plant has a pleasant smell; the seed of it is eaten by vultures, it is said.4 Hartwort is useful to man for inveterate coughs, ruptures, and convulsions, being usually taken in white wine; it is employed also in cases of opisthotony, and for diseases of the liver, as well as for griping pains in the bowels and for strangury, in doses of two or three spoonfuls at a time.

The leaves of this plant are useful also, and have the effect of aiding parturition—in animals even: indeed, it is generally said that roes,5 when about to bring forth, are in the habit of eating these leaves in particular. They are topically applied, also, in erysipelas; and either the leaves or the seed, taken fasting in the morning, are very beneficial to the digestion. Hartwort has the effect, too, of arresting looseness in cattle, either bruised and put into their drink, or else eaten by them after it has been chewed with salt. When oxen are in a diseased state, it is beaten up and poured into their food.

1 σισάρον, the "skirret," and σέσελι, σέλι, or σίλι, "hart-wort."

2 The Seseli tortuosum of Linnæus.

3 Or Marseilles: the Seseli tortuosum. Fée says that there is great confusion relative to the supposed varieties of this plant. The Bupleurum fruticosum, or Seseli of Æthiopia, has leaves smaller than those of ivy, and resembling the leaves of honeysuckle. That of Peloponnesus, the Ligusticum austriacum, has a leaf similar to that of hemlock, but larger and thicker; and the Seseli of Crete, some species of the genus Tordylium, is a small plant which throws out shoots in large quantities. All these, he says, are so far different plants, that it is quite impossible to unite them with any degree of certainty under one concordance. Indeed, he thinks it very possible that they do not all belong to the genus Seseli of modern botanists.

4 It is clear that Pliny hesitates to believe this story, and it is hardly necessary to remark how utterly foreign this is to the habits of carnivorous birds.

5 See B. viii. c. 50. An absurd story.

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