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Other plants of the bulbous kind differ in the leaf: that of the asphodel1 is long and narrow, that of the squill broad and supple, and the form of that of the gladiolus is bespoken by its name.2 The asphodel is used as an article of food, the seed of it being parched, and the bulb roasted;3 this last, however, should be cooked in hot ashes, and then eaten with salt and oil. It is beaten up also with figs, and forms, as Hesiod assures us, a very delicate dish. It is said, too, that the asphodel, planted before the doors of a farm-house, will act as a preservative against the effects of noxious spells.

Homer,4 too, makes mention of the asphodel. The bulbs of it are like moderately-sized turnips, and there is no plant the root of which has more of them, as many as eighty bulbs being often grouped together. Theophrastus, and nearly all the Greek writers, with Pythagoras at the head of them, have given the name of "anthericos" to its stem, which is one cubit, and often two, in length, the leaves being very similar to those of the wild leek; it is to the root, or in other words, the bulbs, that they have given the name of asphodel. The people of our country call this plant5 "albucus," and they give the name of "royal6 spear" to the asphodel the stem of which bears berries,7 thus distinguishing two8 varieties of it. The albucus has a stalk a cubit in length, large, naked, and smooth, in reference to which, Mago recommends that it should be cut at the end of March and the beginning of April, the period at which it blossoms, and before the seed has begun to swell; he says, too, that the stalks should be split, and exposed on the fourth day in the sun, after which, when dry, they should be made up into bundles.

The same author states, also, that the Greeks give the name of "pistana" to the aquatic plant known to us as the "sagitta;"9 and he recommends that it should be stripped of its bark, and dried in a mild sun, between the ides of May10 and the end of October. He says, too, that it is usual to cut down to the root, throughout all the month of July, the variety of the gladiolus called "cypiros," which is a marsh-plant also, and at the end of three days to dry it in the sun, until it turns white; but that care must be taken every day to carry it under cover before sunset, the night dews being very injurious to marsh plants when cut.

1 The Asphodelus ramosus of Linnæus.

2 "Little sword."

3 It is no longer employed as an article of food.

4 Od. xi. 539, and xxiv. 13.

5 It is difficult to say to what "illud" refers, if, indeed, it is the correct reading.

6 "Hastula regia."

7 "Caulis acinosi."

8 See B. xxii. c. 32.

9 "Arrow." The Sagittaria sagittifolia of Linnæus; our arrow-head, or adder's tongue.

10 15th of May.

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