Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

There are two Excreſcences which grow upon Trees, both of them
in the nature of Musbromes; the one the Romans called Boletus, which grow-
eth upon the Roots of Oaks, and was one of the dainties of their Table: The other is Medicinal, that is called Agarick (whereof we have ſpoken
before) which groweth upon the tops of Oaks; though it be affirmed
by ſome, that it groweth alſo at the Roots. I do conceive, that many Ex-
creſcences of Trees grow chiefly, where the Tree is dead or faded; for
that the Natural Sap of the Tree, corrupteth into ſome Prenatural ſub-



The greater part of Trees bear moſt, and beſt on the lower Boughs,
as Oaks, Figs, Walnuts, Pears, & c. But ſome bear beſt on the top Boughs, as
Crabs, & c. Thoſe that bear beſt below, are ſuch, as ſhade doth more good to
than hurt: For generally all Fruits bear beſt loweſt, becauſe the Sap itreth,
not having but a ſhort way. And therefore in Fruits ſpred upon Walls, the
loweſt are the greateſt, as was formely ſaid: So it is, the ſhade that hindreth
the lower Boughs, except it be in ſuch Trees as delight in ſhade, or at leaſt
bear it well. And therefore they are either ſtrong Trees, as the Oak, or elſe
they have large Leaves, as the Walnut and Fig, or elſe they grow in Pyramis
as the Pear. But if they require very much Sun, they bear beſt on the top; as it is Crabs, Apples, Plumbs, & c.



There be Trees that bear beſt when they begin to be old; as Almonds,
Pears, Vines, and all Trees that give Maſt. The cauſe is, for that all Trees that
bear Maſt have an oyly Fruit; and young Trees have a more watry Juyce, and
leſs concocted; and of the ſame kinde alſo is the Almond. The Pear like wiſe
though it be not oyly, yet it requireth much Sap, and well concocted; for
we ſee it is a heavy Fruit and ſolid, much more than Apples, Plumbs, & c. As
for the Vine, it is noted that it beareth more Grapes when it is young; but
Grapes that make better Wine when it is old, for that the Juyce is the better
concocted: And we ſee, that Wine is inflamable, ſo as it hath a kinde of oyli-
neſs. But the moſt part of Trees, amongſt which are Apples, Plumbs, & c. bear beſt when they are young.



There be Plants that have a Milk in them when they are cut; as Figs,
Old Lettuce, Sow-thiſtles, Spurge, & c. The cauſe may be an Inception of
Putrefaction: For thoſe Milks have all an Acrimony, though one would think
they ſhould be Lenitive. For if you write upon Paper with the Milk of the
Fig, the Letters will not be ſeen, until you hold the Paper before the fire,
and then they wax brown; which ſheweth, that it is a ſharp or fretting
Juyce. Lettucè is thought poyſonous, when it is ſo old as to have Milk: Spurge is a kinde of poyſon in it ſelf; and as for Sow-thiſtles, though Coneys
eat them, yet Sheep and Cattel will not touch them; and beſides, the Milk
of them, rubbed upon Warts, in ſhort time weareth them away: Which
ſheweth the Milk of them to be Corrowſive. We ſee alſo, that Wheat and
other Cornſown, if you take them forth of the Ground, before they ſprout,
are full of Milk; and the beginning of Germination is ever a kinde of Pu-
trefaction of the Seed. Euphorhium alſo hath a Milk, though not very white,
which is of a great Acrimony. And Saladine hath a yellow Milk, which hath
likewiſe much Acrimony, for it cleanſeth the Eyes; it is good alſo for



Mushromes are reported to grow, as well upon the Bodies of Trees, as
upon their Roots, or upon the Earth, and eſpecially upon the Oak. The
cauſe is, for that ſtrong Trees are towards ſuch Excreſcences in the nature
of Earth, and therefore put forth Moß, Mushromes, and the like.



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