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Arsenogonon1 and thelygonon are plants, both of them, with clusters resembling the blossoms of the olive, but paler, and a white seed like that of the poppy. By taking thelygonon in drink, they say, the conception of female issue is ensured. Arsenogonon differs from it in the seed, which resembles that of the olive, but in no other respect. By taking this last plant in drink, male issue may be ensured—that is, if we choose to believe it. Some persons, however, assert that both plants resemble ocimum,2 but that the seed of arsenogonon is double, and resembles the testes in appearance.

1 These two plants, the names of which signify "begetting males," and "begetting females," are identified by Fée as the male and the female of the same plant, the Mercurialis tomentosa of Linnæus, the Woolly mercury. Littré gives the Mercurialis perennis of Linnæus, Dog's mercury; and Desfontaines identifies them with the Thelygonum cynocrambe.

2 See B. xxi. c. 60.

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