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It is the hind, too, that, as already1 stated, first made us acquainted with dictamnon,2 or dittany; for when wounded, it eats some of this plant, and the weapon immediately falls from the body. This plant grows nowhere3 but in Crete. The branches of it are remarkably thin; it resembles pennyroyal in appearance, and is hot and acrid to the taste. The leaves are the only part employed, it being destitute of4 blossom, seed, and stem: the root is thin., and never used. In Crete even, it is found growing only in a very limited locality, and is sought by goats with singular avidity.

In place of it, the pseudodictamnum5 is employed, a plant that is found growing in many countries. In leaf it is similar to the other, but the branches are more diminutive: by some persons it is known as "chondris." Its properties not being so strongly developed, the difference is immediately recognized: for an infusion of the very smallest piece of the real dittany, is sufficient to burn the mouth. The persons who gather it are in the habit of enclosing it in a stem of fennel-giant or in a reed, which they close at the ends that the virtues of it may not escape. Some persons say, that both plants grow indiscriminately in numerous localities, the inferior sort being the produce of rich soils, and the genuine dittany being found nowhere but in rugged, uncultivated spots.

There is, again, a third6 plant called "dictamnum," which, however, has neither the appearance nor the properties of the other plant so called; the leaves of it are like those of sisymbrium,7 but the branches are larger.

There has long been this impression with reference to Crete, that whatever plant grows there is infinitely superior in its properties to a similar plant the produce of any other country; the second rank being given to the produce of Mount Parnassus. In addition to this, it is generally asserted that simples of excellent quality are found upon Mount Pelion in Thessaly, Mount Teleuthrius in Eubœa, and throughout the whole of Arcadia and Laconia. Indeed, the Arcadians, they say, are in the habit of using, not the simples themselves, but milk, in the spring season more particularly; a period at which the field plants are swollen with juice, and the milk is medicated by their agency. It is cows' milk in especial that they use for this purpose, those animals being in the habit of feeding upon nearly every kind of plant. The potent properties of plants are manifested by their action upon four-footed animals in two very remarkable instances: in the vicinity of Abdera and the tract known as the Boundary8 of Diomedes, the horses, after pasturing, become inflamed with frantic fury; the same is the case, too, with the male asses, in the neighbourhood of Potniæ.

1 In B. viii. c. 41.

2 The Origanum dictamnus of Linnæus, Dittany of Candia.

3 This is an error: it grows, and doubtless did in Pliny's time, in numerous other places; but that of Mount Ida in Crete was held in the highest esteem.

4 It has all three, in fact; as Fée says, it is evident that Pliny never saw it. Its medicinal properties are no longer held in any esteem.

5 "False-dittany." It is generally identified with the Marrubium pseudodictamnus of Linnæus, the Shrubby white horehound; though perhaps on insufficient grounds.

6 Fée is inclined, with Sprengel, to identify it with the Origanum Creticum of Linnæus. Other commentators have suggested the Origanum Tournefortii, the Thymus mastichina of Linnæus, and the Marrlbiurm acetabulosum of Linnæus.

7 See B. xx. c. 91.

8 "Limes Diomedis."

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