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Petronius Diodotus has distinguished four kinds of daucus, which it would be useless here to describe, the varieties being in reality but two1 in number. The most esteemed kind is that of Crete,2 the next best being the produce of Achaia, and of all dry localities. It resembles fennel in appearance, only that its leaves are whiter, more diminutive, and hairy on the surface. The stem is upright, and a foot in length, and the root has a remarkably pleasant taste and smell. This kind grows in stony localities with a southern aspect.

The inferior sorts are found growing everywhere, upon declivities for instance, and in the hedges of fields, but always in a rich soil. The leaves are like those of coriander,3 the stem being a cubit in length, the heads round, often three or more in number, and the root ligneous, and good for nothing when dry. The seed of this kind is like that of cummin, while that of the first kind bears a resemblance to millet; in all cases it is white, acrid, hot, and odoriferous. The seed of the second kind has more active properties than that of the first; for which reason it should be used more sparingly.

If it is considered really desirable to recognize a third variety of the daucus, there is a plant4 of this nature very similar to the staphylinos, known as the "pastinaca5 erratica," with an oblong seed and a sweet root. Quadrupeds will touch none of these plants, either in winter or in summer, except indeed, after abortion.6 The seed of the various kinds is used, with the exception of that of Crete, in which case it is the root that is employed; this root being particularly useful for the stings of serpents. The proper dose is one drachma, taken in wine. It is administered also to cattle when stung by those reptiles.

1 Fée remarks, that the account given by Pliny has not the same precision as that of dioscorides, who describes three varieties of the Daucus.

2 Fée is inclined to identify the Daucus of Crete and Achaia with the Daucus Creticus of Fuchsius, the Athamanta annua of Linnæus. Desfontaines identifies it with the Athamanta Cretensis of Linnæus.

3 This kind is identified by Fée with the seseli ammoïdes of linnæus, and by littré with the ammi majus of linnæus,the common or greater bishop's weed.

4 Identified by Sprengel with the Daucus Mauritanicus, and by Brotero and Desfontaines with the Daucus carota, var. a, our Common carrot. Fée seems inclined to identify it with the Athamanta cervaria of Linnæus, Mountain carrot, or Broad-leaved spignel. The account given by Pliny is, however, a mass of confusion.

5 Or "wild parsnip." See B. xix. c. 27.

6 For the purpose of expelling the dead fœtus, according to Dioscorides, B. iii. c. 83.

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