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For that philosopher says, in the fourth book of his History of Plants—“The Median territory, and like wise the Persian, has many other productions, and also the Perian or Median apple. Now, that tree has a leaf very like and almost exactly the same as that of the bay-tree, the arbutus, or the nut: and it has thorns like the prickly-pear, or blackthorn, smooth but very sharp and strong. And the fruit is not good to eat, but is very fragrant, and so too are [p. 140] the leaves of the tree. And if any one puts one of the fruits among his clothes, it keeps them from the moth. And it is useful when any one has taken poison injurious to life; for when given in wine it produces a strong effect on the bowels, and draws out the poison. It is serviceable also in the way of making the breath sweet; for if any one boils the inner part of the fruit in broth or in anything else, and then presses it in his mouth and swallows it, it makes his breath smell sweet. And the seed is taken out and is sown in spring in square beds, being very carefully cultivated; and then it is watered every fourth or fifth day; and when it has grown up it is again transplanted the next spring into a place where the ground is soft, and well-watered, and not very thin. And it bears fruit every year; some of which are fit to be gathered, and some are in flower, and some are becoming ripe at the same time. And those of the flowers which have a stem like a distaff projecting out of the centre are sure to produce good seed; but those which have no such stem are unproductive.” And in the first book of the same treatise he says the same thing about the distaff, and about the flowers which are productive. And I am induced by these things, my mates, and by what Theophrastus says of the colour and smell and leaves of the fruit, to believe that the fruit meant by him is the citron; and let no one of you marvel if he says that it is not good to eat; since until the time of our grandfathers no one was used to eat it, but they put it away as a treasure in their chests along with their clothes.
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