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Soncos Dyascorides species eius sunt due una agrestis est et spinosa, altera apta est ad comedendum ramulos angulosos habet et rufos et inanes intus folia rara habet et scissa et cetera.


Whole entry om. f {see also Sorex}
ramulos ABC ep | kamulos j {'R' misread as 'k'?}
angulosos | angulos ms. e
rufos AC e | ruffos B p | ruffas j
scissa | scisa B
et cetera om. e


There are two kinds of soncos {"sow-thistle"}, a wild one with thorns and the other is good to eat, having angular branches that are red and hollow inside, it has leaves at wide intervals and they are incised.


Greek σόγχος /sónkhos/, also σόγκος /sónkos/ is glossed by LSJ: "sow-thistle, Sonchus aspera". The word was latinised sonchus, but cf. also soncos, soncus and soncum in Pliny. The etymology of the word is unclear. Only Carnoy, pp. 248/249, s.v. sonchos, suggests unconvincingly a Thraco-Pelasgan origin.

Simon is referring to Dioscorides Longobardus, 2, 115, ed. Stadler (1899: 224) De soncu[[1]].
The Greek original is found in 2, 131, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: I.203). σóγχου δύο εστìν εδη· … /sónkhou dýo estìn eídē/ "of sonkhos there are two kinds"[[2]].

Botanical identification:

According to Dioscorides there are two kinds:

1) agrestis et spinosa "wild growing and thorny", in Greek ἀγριώτερον καὶ ἀκαθωδέστερον /agriṓteron kaì akanthōdésteron/ - "more wild and more thorny"; and the RV version speaks of σόγχος τραχύς /sónkhos trakhýs/ "rugged or rough sonkhos". Berendes (1902: 224), sees in this kind Sonchus oleraceus L., the "common sow-thistle" [[3]], whereas André (1985: 243), s.v. sonc(h)os, sees it, i.e. sonc(h)os agrestis, as Sonchus asper L. "prickly sow-thistle"[[4]], and possibly other Sonchus species. It should be said that S. asper is quite spiny. Both plants are of a near-European-wide distribution.

2) apta ad comedendum {"good to eat"} etc.; in Greek τρυφερώτερον καὶ ἐδωδιμώτερον /trypherṓteron kaì edōdimṓteron/ "more delicate/soft {not translated in Longobardus} and more fit to eat"; and the RV version speaks of σόγχος τρυφερός /sónkhos trypherós/ "delicate sonkhos". Berendes (1902: 224), sees in this kind Sonchus arvensis L., the "corn sow-thistle"[[5], whereas André op. cit. sees in it Sonchus oleraceus L., the "common sow-thistle"[[6]]. The leaves of this latter plant are indeed eaten in some regions as salad greens or cooked like spinach; however all three species mentioned can be eaten in salads when they are young and tender.

WilfGunther 20:52, 10 April 2015 (BST)

See also: Sorex, Hyonchos

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