Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

There is hardly found a Plant that yieldeth a red Juyce in the Blade or
Ear, except it be the Tree that beareth Sanguis Draconis; which gr weth
chiefly in the Iſland Soquotra: The Herb Aramanthus (indeed) is red all
over; and Braſrt is red in the Wood; and ſo is Red Sanders. The Tree oſ
Sanguis Draconis groweth in the form of a Sugar-Loaf; it is like the Sap of
that Plant concocteth in the Body of the Tree. For we ſee, that Grapes
and Pomegranatesare red in the Juyce, but are Green in the Tear. And this
maketh the Tree of Sanguis Draconis leſſer to wards the top, becauſe the Juyce
haſtneth not up; and beſides, it is very Aſtringent, and therefore of ſlow



It is reported, that Sweet Moſs, beſides that upon the Apple-trees,
groweth likewiſe (ſometimes) upon Poplars, and yet (generally) the Poplar
is a ſmooth Tree of Bark, and hath little Moſs. The Moſs of the Larix-tree
burneth alſo ſweet, and ſparkleth in the burning. Quære, of the Moſſes of
Odorate Trees; as Cedar, Cypreß, Lignum, Aloes & c.



The Death, that is moſt without pain, hath been noted to be upon the
taking of the Potion of Hemlock; which in Humanity was the ſorm of exe-
cution oſ capital offenders in Athens. The Poyſon of the Aſpe, that Cleopatra
uſed, hath ſome affinity with it. The cauſe is, for that the torments of Death
are chiefly raiſed by the ſtriſe of the Spirits; and theſe Vapors quench the
Spirits by degrees; like to the death of an extream old Man. I con-
ceive it is leſs painful then Opium, becauſe Opium hath parts of heat



There be Fruits that are ſweet before they ripen, as Mirabolanes; ſo
Fennel-ſeeds are ſweet before they ripen, and after grow ſpicy; and ſome
never ripen to be ſweet; as Tamarinds, Barberries, Crabs, Sloes, & c. The cauſe
is, for that the former kinde have much and ſubtile heat, which cauſeth early
ſweetneſs; the latter have a cold and acide Juyce, which no heat of the
Sun can ſweeten. But as for the Mirabolane, it hath parts of contrary natures,
for it is ſweet and aſtringent.



There be few Herbs that have a Salt taſte; and contrariwiſe, all Blood
of Living Creatures hath a ſaltneſs; the cauſe may be, for that Salt, though
it be the Rudiment of Life, yet in Plants the original taſte remaineth not; for you ſhall have them bitter, ſowre, ſweet biting, but ſeldom ſalt: Butin
Living Creatures, all thoſe high taſtes may happen to be (ſometimes) in the
humors, but are ſeldom in the fleſh, or ſubſtance; becauſe it is of a more
oyly Nature, which is not very ſuſceptible of thoſe taſtes; and the ſaltneſs
it ſelf of Blood, is but a light and ſecret ſaltneſs: And even among Plants,
ſome do participate of ſaltneſs, as Alga Marina, Samphire, Scurvy Graß, & c. And they report there is in ſome of the Indian Seas, a Swiming Plant, which
they call Salgazus, ſpreding over the Sea, in ſort, as one would think it were
a Meadow. It is certain, that out of the Aſhes of all Plants, they extra ct a
Salt which they uſe in Medicines.



It is reported by one of the Ancients, that there is an Herb, growing in
the Water, called Lincostis, which is full of Prickles: This Herb putteth forth
another ſmall Herb out of the Leaf, which is imputed to ſome moiſture, that
is gathered bet ween the Prickles, which putrified by the Sun, germinateth. But I remember alſo, I have ſeen, for a great rarity, one Roſe grow out of
another, like Honey Suckles, that they call Top and Top-gallants.



Barley (as appeareth in the Malting) being ſteeped in Water three days,
and afterwards the Water drained ſrom it, and the Barley turned upon a dry
Floar, will ſprout half an inch long, at leaſt: And if it be let alone, and


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