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But the plant of this nature that is the most famous in Egypt is the colocasia,1 known as the "cyamos"2 to some. It is gathered in the river Nilus, and the stalk of it, boiled, separates3 into fine filaments when chewed, like those of the spider's web. The head,4 protruding from among the leaves, is very remarkable; and the leaves, which are extremely large, even when compared with those of trees, are very similar to those of the plant found in our rivers, and known by the name of "personata."5 So much do the people of that country take advantage of the bounteousness displayed by their river, that they are in the habit of plaiting6 the leaves of the colocasia with such skill as to make vessels of various shapes, which they are extremely fond of using for drinking vessels. At the present day, however, this plant is cultivated in Italy.7

1 The Arum colocasia of Linnæus.

2 The "bean." Not, however, the Egyptian bean, which is the Nym- phæa nelumbo of Linnæus, the Nelumbum speciosum of Willdenow.

3 These filaments are mentioned also by Martial, Epig., B. viii. Ep. 33, and B. xiii. Ep. 57. But according to Desfontaines, this description applies to the stalks of the Nymphæa lotos, and not of the Arum colocasia.

4 "Thyrsus."

5 Desfontaines has identified this with the Arctium lappa of botanists; but that is a land plant, and this, Pliny says, grows in the rivers. If the reading here is correct, it cannot be the plant of the same name mentioned in B, xxv. c. 58.

6 This applies, Desfontaines says, to the Nymphæa nelumbo.

7 Here he returns, according to Desfontaines, to the Arum colocasia.

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