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Panos Plinius e glandiferis arboribus sola que vocatur aezopos fert panos arentes muscoso villo canos non in cortice modo verum e ramis dependentes cubitali magnitudine odoratos et cetera vide an sit usnee et infra in spagnos.


Panos AC ef | Panos siphanos B

e (ex B) glandiferis (glãd- A) ABC f | est glandiferis ms. e

sola B ef Pliny | folia AC

que (que A) ABC f | qua ms. e

aezopos AC | aezops B f | accepos e | aegilops Pliny

panos AC f | pãnos B e

muscoso ABC e | muscosso f

villo AC | vilo ef | nilo B {'u' upside down > 'n'}

canos ABC e | cãnos f

e ramis AC f | ē rãis B | ramis ms. e

odoratos om. B

infra AC ef | infta B {misprint}


Amongst the trees that bear acorns or similar nuts there is only the aezopos tree that carries white dry rag-like fruits {panos} with mossy shaggy hair not only in the bark but also hanging from the branches a cubit in size and strong smelling, etc. Cf. a possible candidate usnee and the entry spagnos below.


Simon's excerpt is taken from Pliny, 16, 13, 33, ed. Rackham (1938-63: IV.408-10).

The Latin word aegilops, adopted from Greek αἰγίλωψ /aigílōps/ is a word of many meanings. LSJ mention: I. "haver-grass" Aegilops ovata. II. "Turkey oak, Quercus Cerris. III. "ulcer in the eye, lachrymal fistula". IV. "a bulbous plant". The etymology of the word is disputed.

Botanical identification:

It is difficult to pinpoint which oak species could be meant by aegilops. The species most commonly mentioned are e.g.

Lewis & Short suggesting: Quercus aegilops L., syn. Quercus macrolepis Kotschy, the "Valonia oak" [[1]], [[2]], with a distribution ranging from the Southern Mediterranean, the Balkans and the Greek islands to Asia Minor and Morocco.

LSJ suggesting: Quercus Cerris L., the "Turkey oak" [[3]], native to southern Europe, except Iberia, Sardinia and Corsica, and also native to Asia Minor.

André (1956: 19), Quercus pedunculata Ehr., more commonly cited under its syn. Quercus robur L., "the "English" or "pedunculate oak" [[4]], [[5]]. It is native to most of Europe, Anatolia and parts of North Africa.

Simon himself suggests that Pliny's panos could be lichens (usnee) or mosses (spagnos). Indeed the modern lichen genus Usnea [[6]], with a world-wide distribution, contains a number of species that grow hanging from tree branches, and as their vernacular names suggest resemble grey or greenish hair, e.g. "old man's beard", "woman's long hair", etc. It could also be a species of the lichen genus Evernia, "oak moss" [[7]] of a similar appearance, which as the name suggests lives, however not exclusively, on oak trees. Oak moss is also used to extract fragrant compounds used in perfumery, which fits in well with Pliny stating that these panos ... odoratos are "strongly scented".

For further discussion see Genaust (1996: 40-1), s.v. aegilops (Quercus.)

Wilf Gunther 05/01/14

See also: Usnee, Spagnos

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