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For some plants, in fact, are thorny, while others, again, are destitute of prickles: the species of thorny plants are very numerous. The asparagus1 and the scorpio2 are essentially thorny plants, having no leaves at all upon them. Some plants, again, that are prickly have leaves as well, such as the thistle, for instance, the erynge,3 the glycyrriza,4 and the nettle;5 all these plants being provided with leaves that prick or sting.

Some plants have thorns at the base of their leaves, the tribulus6 and the anonis7 for instance; others, again, have thorns, not on the leaves but on the stem, the pheos8 for example, known as the stœbe to some. The hippophaës9 has thorns at the joints; the tribulus presents the peculiarity of bearing a fruit that is thorny.

1 The Asparagus aphylla of Linnæus: the leafless asparagus.

2 The Spartium scorpius of Linnæus: scorpion-grass, or scorpion-wort.

3 See B. xxii. c. 8.

4 See B. xxii. c. 11. The "sweet-root;" our liquorice. The Glycyrrhiza echinata of Linnæus bears a prickly fruit; it is of this, Fée thinks, that Pliny speaks here.

5 Fée remarks, that though the leaf of the nettle is furnished with numerous stings, or rather prickly hairs, it is quite wrong to look upon them as thorns, which Pliny, in the present instance, (though not in the next Chapter) appears to do. Genuine thorns, he remarks, are abortive branches, which, of course, cannot be said of the fine hairs springing from the nerves of the leaf. See B.xxii. c. 15.

6 Supposed to be the Tribulus terrestris of Linnæus, a species of thistle: the leaves of this plant, however, are not provided, Fée remarks, with thorns at their base, the fruit alone being spinous. See c. 58 of this Book.

7 See c. 58 of this Book.

8 The Poterium spinosum of botanists. See B. xxii. c. 13.

9 See B. xxii. c. 13. Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. vi. c. 5, identifies this plant with the Stœbe just mentioned.

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