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Belonging to this last class, there are the following trees which do not lose their leaves: the olive, the laurel, the palm, the myrtle, the cypress, the pine, the ivy, the rhododendron,1 and, although it may be rather called a herb than a tree, the savin.2 The rhododendron, as its name indicates, comes from Greece. By some it is known as the nerium,3 and by others as the rhododaphne. It is an evergreen, bear- ing a strong resemblance to the rose-tree, and throwing out numerous branches from the stem; to beasts of burden, goats, and sheep it is poisonous, but for man it is an antidote4 against the venom of serpents.

(21.) The following among the forest-trees do not lose their haves: the fir, the larch, the pinaster, the juniper, the cedar, the terebinth, the box, the holm-oak, the aquifolia, the cork, the yew, and the tamarisk.5 A middle place between the evergreens and those which are not so, is occupied by the an- drachle6 in Greece, and by the arbutus7 in all parts of the world; as they lose all their leaves with the exception of those on the top of the tree. Among certain of the shrubs, too, the bramble and the calamus, the leaves do not fall. In the territory of Thurii, where Sybaris formerly stood, from the city there was a single oak8 to be seen that never lost its leaves, and never used to bud before midsummer: it is a singular thing that this fact, which has been so often alluded to by the Greek writers, should have been passed over in silence by our own.9 Indeed, so remarkable are the virtues that we find belonging to some localities, that about Memphis in Egypt, and at Ele- phantina, in Thebais, the leaves10 fall from none of the trees, not the vine even.

1 The Nerion oleander of Linnæus; the laurel-rose, or rose of St. An. thony of the French; it has some distant resemblance to the olive-tree, but its leaf is that of the laurel, and its flower very similar to that of the rose.

2 See B. xxiv. c. 61.

3 "Nerion" is the Greek name.

4 It has certain dangerous properties, which cause the herbivorous ani- mals to avoid touching it. It acts strongly on the muscular system, and, as Fée remarks, used as an antidote to the stings of serpents, it is not improbable that its effect would be the worst of the two.

5 See B. xiii. c. 37. The tamarisk of the moderns is not an evergreen, which has caused writers to doubt if it is identical with the tamariscus of the ancients, and to be disposed to look for it among the larger ericæ or heaths. The leaves of the larch fall every year; those of the other evergreens mostly every two or three years.

6 See B. xiii. c. 40.

7 See B. xiii. c. 40. This assertion of Pliny is erroneous, as these trees are in reality evergreens, though all trees of that class are liable to lose their leaves through certain maladies.

8 "Quercus." The ilex or holm-oak is an evergreen.

9 Pliny is in error here. Varro, De Re Rust. B. i. c. 7, has made mention of this tree.

10 The hot climates possess a greater number of evergreens than the temperate regions, but not of the same species or genus. The vine invariably loses its leaves each year.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), IDA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LEUCI MONTES
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