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Erigeron1 is called by our people "senecio." It is said that if a person, after tracing around this plant with an imple- ment of iron, takes it up and touches the tooth affected with it three times, taking care to spit each time on the ground, and then replaces it in the same spot, so as to take root again, he will never experience any further pain in that tooth. This plant has just the appearance and softness of trixago,2 with a number of small reddish-coloured stems: it is found growing upon walls, and the tiled roofs of houses. The Greeks have given it the name of "erigeron,"3 because it is white in spring. The head is divided into numerous downy filaments, which resemble those of the thorn,4 protruding from between the divisions of the head: hence it is that Callimachus has given it the name of "acanthis,"5 while others, again, call it "pappus."6

After all, however, the Greek writers are by no means agreed as to this plant; some say, for instance, that it has leaves like those of rocket, while others maintain that they resemble those of the robur, only that they are considerably smaller. Some, again, assert that the root is useless, while others aver that it is beneficial for the sinews, and others that it produces suffocation, if taken in drink. On. the other hand, some have prescribed it in wine, for jaundice and all affections of the bladder, heart, and liver, and give it as their opinion that it carries off gravel from the kidneys. It has been prescribed, also, by them for sciatica, the patient taking one drachma in oxymel, after a walk; and has been recommended as extremely useful for griping pains in the bowels, taken in raisin wine. They assert, also, that used as an aliment with vinegar, it is wholesome for the thoracic organs, and recommend it to be grown in the garden for these several purposes.

In addition to this, there are some authorities to be found, which distinguish another variety of this plant, but without mentioning its peculiar characteristics. This last they recom- mend to be taken in water, to neutralize the venom of serpents, and prescribe it to be eaten for the cure of epilepsy. For my own part, however, I shall only speak of it in accordance with the uses made of it among us Romans, uses based upon the results of actual experience. The down of this plant, beaten up with saffron and a little cold water, is applied to defluxions of the eyes; parched with a little salt, it is employed for the cure of scrofulous sores.

1 Identified by Desfontaines with the Senecio Jacobæa of Linnæus, Common ragwort. Fée identifies it with the Senecio vilgaris of Linnæus our Groundsel. They are both destitute of medicinal properties.

2 See B. xxiv. c. 80.

3 "῎εαρι γέρων, "aged," or "hoary in spring."

4 "Spinæ." He probably uses a wrong term, and means "thistle."

5 It may possibly have been so called from the Acanthis, or goldfinch, that bird being fond of groundsel.

6 "Thistle-down." If Pliny is speaking of groundsel, he is wrong in his assertion that it turns white, or in other words, goes to seed, in spring.

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