Asclepiades of Myrlea speaks of a tree which he calls the Ground-cherry, and says, “In the land of the Bithynians there is found the ground-cherry, the root of which is not large; nor is the tree, but like a rose-bush; in all other respects the fruit is like the common cherry; but it makes those who eat much of it feel heavy, as wine does, and it gives them head-aches.” These are the words of Asclepiades. And it appears to me that he is speaking of the arbutus. For [p. 83] the tree which bears the arbutus-berry answers his descrip- tion, and if a man eats more than six or seven of the berries he gets a headache. Aristophanes says—
And planted by no hand, the arbutusTheopompus says—
Makes red the sunny hills.
The myrtle berries and red arbutus.Crates says—
Beauteous the breast of tender maid,And Amphis—
As arbutus or apples red.
Mulberries you see, my friend, are foundAnd Theophrastus tells us, “The κόμαρος (as he calls it) is the tree which bears the arbutus berry.” There is question about the “Agen,” a satyric drama, whether it was composed by Python, (and if by him whether he was a native of Catana or of Byzantium,) or by the king Alexander himself. Then Laurentius says—“You, O Greeks, lay claim to a good many things, as either having given the names to them, or having been the original discoverers of them. But you do not know that Lucullus, the Roman general, who subdued Mithridates and Tigranes, was the first man who Introduced this plant into Italy from Cerasus, a city of Pontus; and he it was who gave the fruit the Latin name of Cerasus, cherry, after the name of the city, as our historians relate.” Then Daphnis answers—“But there was a very celebrated man, Diphilus of Siphnos, many years more ancient than Lucullus, for he was born in the time of king Lysimachus, (who was one of the successors of Alexander,) and he speaks of cherries, saying, 'Cherries are good for the stomach, and juicy, but not very nutritious; if taken after drinking cold water they are especially wholesome; but the red and the Milesian are the best kinds, and are diuretic.'”
On the tree which we know as the mulberry;
So the oak bears the acorn round,
And the arbutus shines with its full berry.