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There are two other plants also, which are but little known to any but the herd of the sordid and avaricious, and this because of the large profits that are derived from them. The first of these is madder,1 the employment of which is necessary in dyeing wool and leather. The madder of Italy is the most esteemed, and that more particularly which is grown in the suburbs of the City; nearly all our provinces, too, produce it in great abundance.2 It grows spontaneously, but is capable of reproduction by sowing, much after the same manner as the fitch. The stem,3 however, is prickly, and articulated, with five leaves arranged round each joint: the seed is red. Its medicinal properties we shall have occasion to mention in the appropriate place.4

1 The Rubia tinctorum of Linnæus.

2 Dioscorides speaks of the madder of Ravenna as being the most esteemed. It is much cultivated at the present day in the South of France, Holland, and the Levant. That of Lille enjoys a high reputation.

3 It is covered with bristly hairs, or rather, fine, hooked teeth. There is, however, no resemblance whatever between it and ervilia or orobus, the fitch.

4 B. xxiv. c. 56.

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