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HISTORICALLY AND BOTANICALLY TREATED;
OBSERVATIONS ON THE FORMATION OF
BY HENRY PHILLIPS, F.H.S.
AUTHOR OF POMARIUM BRITANNICUM,
Sylva nemus non alta facit: tegit arbutus herbam :
Rosmaris et lauri, nigraque myrtus olent.
Nec tenues cytisi, cultaque pinus abest. Ovid. Ars Am.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Natural order, Papilionacea, or Leguminosa. A
genus of the Diadelphia Decandria class.
“ Nor might she fear in beauty to excel,
From whose fair head such golden tresses fell.”
This beautiful alpine tree was known to the Greeks under the name of 'Avózups, and its emetic qualities gave rise to their proverb, Anagrin commovere, “ to work one's own woe. ' It is observed that the bees avoid the flowers of this tree, whose leaves are so agreeable to the goat. Theocritus, the poet, who flourished
at Syracuse, in Sicily, about 282 years before the Christian era, remarks, that the wolf pursues the goat with as much eagerness as the goat hunts for the laburnum; and Virgil has celebrated it for augmenting the milk of goats. Pliny tells us, that the laburnum belongs to the Alps, and that it was not commonly known in Italy when he wrote his Natural History. He says, the wood is white and hard; and that the bees would not even settle upon the blossoms of this tree. *
The laburnum has long graced the British gardens, as we learn from Gerard that it flourished in Holborn in 1596. What would be the astonishment of this excellent old herbarist, could he be recalled, to see each avenue of his garden formed into streets ; houses erected on his parsley beds, and chimneys sprung up as thick as his
asparagus; churches occupying the site of his arbours, and his tool-house, perhaps, converted into the British Museum, where is safely housed the lasting memorial of his labours. In vain would he now seek wild plants in Mary-le-bone, where each blade of grass
is transformed into granite, and every hawthorn hedge changed for piles of bricks : carriages rattling where snails were formerly
* Book xvi. chap. 18.