Arbor cimicum

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Arbor cimicum quam dirdar Avicenna vocat ulmus ut quidam dicunt plura eius genera secundum Plinium.


Arbor cimicuʒ is not rubricated in ms. j and is part of the section headworded Aratilli
dirdar Avicenna | transp. e
{vocat} est add. CB ef
ulmus AB efj | uulnus p | vmilis C {misreading of whole word}
quidam add. B
plura eius genera AC | p.g.e. ejp | p. sunt g.e. B | sunt e.p.g. f


Arbor cimicum {(lit.) "bugs tree"}, which Avicenna calls dirdar, is in Latin ulmus {"elm"} as some {authors} say. There are many of its kind according to Pliny.


Arbor cimicum:
{(lit.) "bugs tree"} is a translation of Arabic ﺷﺠﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﺑﻖ /šağarat al-baqq/ of the same meaning. There is in fact a short chapter in Avicenna's [Goehl] Canon, liber secundus, Capitulum 74 (73): De arbore cimicum (followed by id est ulmo (after arbore cimicum annotation: segiar albach {= ﺷﺠﺮ ﺍﻟﺑﻖ /šağar al-baqq/}).
The Latin text is also available online in the Lyon edition (1522: 77) [[1]];
see also the Arabic original p.261 [[2]]. Cf. ﺷﺠﺮ /šağar/ "tree", ﺷﺠﺮﺓ /šağara/ "one tree".
ﺑﻖ /baqq/ "(bed) bug".

The name alludes to the fact that certain insects produce gall growths on the tree. But Simon is probably thinking of Avicenna's main chapter on the elm, Capitulum 216. De dirdar, for which see Dirdar.

Simon also mentions Pliny, 16, 29, 72, ed. Rackham (1938-63: IV.434), where Pliny lists two types of elm the Greeks knew: ulmus montana, the "mountain elm", and ulmus campestris, the "plains elm". And those growing in Italy he names as ulmus Atinia, the "Atinian elm {Atina is the name of several towns in ancient Italy}", ulmus Gallica the "Gallic elm"; ulmus nostras, the "indigenous {i.e. Italian} elm" and ulmus silvestris, the "wild elm".

Botanical identification:

André (1956: 334) and (1985: 274-5), reduces Pliny's types of elm to three species with the following identifications: ulmus montana, in Greek ὀρειπτελέα /oreipteléa/, is a variant of ulmus campestris together with ulmus nostras; these he sees as Ulmus campestris L. syn. of Ulmus minor Mill. [[3]]"field elm";

ulmus Atinia is synonym with ulmus Gallica, it is Ulmus laevis Pallas [[4]], the "European white elm";

ulmus silvestris is Ulmus montana With. ", syn. of Ulmus glabra Huds [[5]], the "mountain elm".

The genus Ulmus has a wide distribution over the temperate and tropical-montane zones of the world, ranging from North America to much of Eurasia. The elm's taxonomy remains however contentious at this time and DNA analysis may shake up the traditional taxonomy considerably. Thus U. campestris and U. montana are now considered synonyms of U. glabra "the common elm". The elm as a very adaptable tree produces numerous variant forms. Consequently many species are also subdivided into a number of subspecies, and in addition hybrid cultivars have been developed over the last two centuries.

WilfGunther 14/05/2014

See also: Dirdar, Ptelea

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