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 Jericho is a plain encompassed by a mountainous district, which slopes towards it somewhat in the manner of a theatre. Here is the Phœnicon (or palm plantation), which contains various other trees of the cultivated kind, and producing excellent fruit; but its chief production is the palm tree. It is 100 stadia in length; the whole is watered with streams, and filled with dwellings. Here also is a palace and the garden of the balsamum.1 The latter is a shrub with an aromatic smell, resembling the cytisus2 and the terminthus.3 Incisions are made in the bark, and vessels are placed beneath to receive the sap, which is like oily milk. After it is collected in vessels, it becomes solid. It is an excellent remedy for headache, incipient suffusion of the eyes, and dimness of sight. It bears therefore a high price, especially as it is produced in no other place.4 This is the case also with the Phœnicon, which alone contains the caryotes5 palm, if we except the Babylonian plain, and the country above it towards the east: a large revenue is derived from the palms and balsamum; xylobalsamum6 is also used as a perfume.
1 Balsamodendron Giliadense. Pliny xii. 25.
2 Medicago arborea.
3 The pistachia, b. xv. c. ii. § 10.
4 In. b. xvi. c. ii. § 16, our author says that it is found on the borders of the Lake Gennesareth.
5 It yields, during the hot season, an immense quantity of toddy or palm wine.
6 Obtained by boiling the branches of the balsamodendron in water, and skimming off the resin.
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