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1 All these statements as to the odours of various substances, are from Theophrastus, De Causis, B. vi. c. 22.
2 He does not say, however, that it is but rarely that a bitter substance is not odoriferous; a sense in which Fée seems to have understood him, as he says, "This assertion is not true in general, and there are numerous exceptions; for instance, quassia wood, which is inodorous and yet intensely bitter." The essential oil, he remarks, elaborated in the tissue of the corolla, is the ordinary source of the emanations of the flower.
3 Fée remarks that cultivation gives to plants a softer and more aqueous consistency, which is consequently injurious to the developement of the essential oil.
4 Theophrastus, from whom this is borrowed, might have said with more justice, Fée remarks, that certain roses have more odour when dried than when fresh gathered. Such is the case, he says, with the Provence rose. Fresh roses, however, have a more pronounced smell, the nearer they are to the olfactory organs.
5 This is by no means invariably the case: in fact, the smell of most odoriferous plants is most powerful in summer.
6 Because the essential oils evaporate more rapidly.
7 With Littré, we adopt the reading "ætate," "mid-age," and not "æstate," "midsummer," for although the assertion would be in general correct, Pliny would contradict the statement just made, that all plants have a more penetrating odour in spring. This reading is supported also by the text of Theophrastus.
8 Or saffron.
9 This is a just observation, but the instances might be greatly extended, as Fée says.
10 See B. xviii. c. 39.
11 The white lily and the red lily. See c. 11 of this Book.
12 As to the Abrotonum, see B. xiii. c. 2, and c. 34 of this Book.
13 See c. 35 of this Book.
14 Or in other words, the interior of the petals has a more bitter flavour than that of the exterior surface.
15 Pliny makes a mistake here, in copying from Theophrastus. De Causis, B. vi. c. 25. That author is speaking not of the flower, but of the rainbow, under the name of "iris." Pliny has himself made a similar statement as to the rainbow, in B. xii. c. 52, which he would appear here to have forgotten.
16 The Cheiranthus tristis of Linnæus, or sad gilliflower, Fée thinks.
17 See B. viii. c. 23. Pliny did not know of the existence of the muskdeer, the Muschus moschiferus of Eastern Asia: and lie seems not to have thought of the civet, (if, indeed, it was known to him) the fox, the weasel, and the polecat, the exhalations from which have a peculiar smell. The same, too, with the urine of the panther and other animals of the genus Felis.
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