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The cactos,1 too, is a plant that grows only in Sicily, having peculiar characteristics of its own: the root throws out stalks which creep along the ground, the leaves being broad and thorny. The name given to these stalks is "cactos," and they are not disliked as an article of food,2 even when old. The plant, however, has one stem which grows upright, and is known by the name of "pternix;" it has the same sweet flavour as the other parts, though it will not keep. The seed of it is covered with a kind of down, known as "pappus:"3 when this is removed, as well as the rind4 of the fruit, it is tender, and like the pith of the palm: the name given to it is "ascalias."

1 This is not the Cactus of modern botany, a plant mentioned in the sequel under the name of "Opuntia," but probably the Cinara cardun- cellus. See B. xx. c. 99.

2 Theophrastus says, that when peeled they have a somewhat bitter flavour, and are kept pickled in brine.

3 This name is now given by naturalists to the calyx of Compositæ. which exists in the rudimentary condition, of a membranous coronet, or of downy hairs, like silk.

4 "Cortex."

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