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The brute animals also have been the discoverers of certain plants: among them, we will name chelidonia first of all. It is by the aid of this plant that the swallow restores the sight of the young birds in the nest, and even, as some persons will have it, when the eyes have been plucked out. There are two varieties of this plant; the larger1 kind has a branchy stem, and a leaf somewhat similar to that of the wild parsnip,2 but larger. The plant itself is some two cubits in height, and of a whitish colour, that of the flower being yellow. The smaller3 kind has leaves like those of ivy, only rounder and not so white. The juice of it is pungent, and resembles saffron in colour, and the seed is similar to that of the poppy.

These plants blossom,4 both of them, at the arrival of the swallow, and wither at the time of its departure. The juice is extracted while they are in flower, and is boiled gently in a copper vessel on hot ashes, with Attic honey, being esteemed a sovereign remedy for films upon the eyes. This juice is employed also, unmixed with any other substance, for the eyesalves,5 which from it take their name of "chelidonia."

1 The Chelidonium majus of Linnæus, the Greater celandine or swallow-wort.

2 "Pastiuaca erratica." See c. 64 of this Book.

3 Identified with the Ranunculus ficaria of Linnæus, the Pilewort, or Lesser celandine.

4 The same is the case, Fée remarks, with numbers of other plants.

5 "Collyriis."

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