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Populus alba.

The white poplar

Herculeos crines bicolor qud populus ornet,[1]
Temporis alternat noxque diesque vices.[2]

The two-coloured poplar wreathes the locks of Hercules - and so its dark and light show time’s alternating changes.

Notes:

1. The white poplar was dedicated to Hercules. According to Pausanias, Periegesis, 5.14.2, Hercules introduced it to Greece. According to another story, Hercules on his way back from the Underworld garlanded his head with stems from a white poplar growing beside the Acheron, a memorial of the nymph Leuke (White) carried off by Pluto.

2. noxque diesque, ‘its dark and light’ (lit. night and day), a reference to the dark green surface and white underside of the white poplar leaf. According to Pliny, Natural History, 16.36.87, the leaves of the white poplar turn over at the summer solstice. Hercules was equated with the sun: Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.20.6 and 10.


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Cotonea.

The quince

Poma novis tribui debere Cydonia nuptis
Dicitur antiquus constituisse Solon.[1]
Grata ori & stomacho cum sint, ut & halitus illis
Sit suavis, blandus manet & ore lepos.

Solon of old is said to have ordained that quinces be given to newly-weds, since these are pleasant both to mouth and stomach. As a result their breath is sweet, and winning grace drops from their lips.

Notes:

1. antiquus...Solon, ‘Solon of old’. See Plutarch, Coniugalia praecepta, Moralia 138 D.


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