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 India produces many singular trees. There is one whose branches incline downwards, and whose leaves are not less in size than a shield. Onesicritus, describing minutely the country of Musicanus, which he says is the most southerly part1 of India, relates, that there are some large trees the branches of which extend to the length even of twelve cubits. They then grow downwards, as though bent (by force), till they touch the earth, where they penetrate and take root like layers. They next shoot upwards and form a trunk. They again grow as we have described, bending downwards, and implanting one layer after another, and in the above order, so that one tree forms a long shady roof, like a tent, supported by many pillars. In speaking of the size of the trees, he says their trunks could scarcely be clasped by five men.2 Aristobulus also, where he mentions the Acesines, and its confluence with the Hyarotis, speaks of trees with their boughs bent downwards and of a size that fifty, but, accord- ing to Onesicritus, four hundred horsemen might take shelter at mid-day beneath the shade of a single tree. Aristobulus mentions another tree, not large, bearing great pods, like the bean, ten fingers in length, full of honey,3 and says that those who eat it do not easily escape with life. But the accounts of all these writers about the size of the trees have been exceeded by those who assert that there has been seen, beyond the Hyarotis,4 a tree which casts a shade at noon of five stadia. Aristobulus says of the wool-bearing trees, that the flower pod contains a kernel, which is taken out, and the remainder is combed like wool.
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