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Morus.

The mulberry

Serior at Morus nunquam nisi frigore lapso
Germinat;[1] & sapiens nomina falsa[2] gerit.

On the other hand, the mulberry is late, and never until the frost is past does it shoot; though wise, it bears a false name.

Notes:

1. See Pliny, Natural History, 16.25.102: “the mulberry is the last of domesticated trees to shoot, and only does so when the frosts are over; for that reason it is called the wisest of trees”.

2. nomina falsa, ‘a false name’, reference to a supposed ‘etymology by opposites’: Latin morus ‘mulberry’ was equated with Greek μῶρος ‘fool’, but the tree was considered wise: see note 1.


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Section: ARBORES (Trees). View all emblems in this section.

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Ilex.

The holm-oak

Duritie nimia[1] qud sese rumperet ilex,
Symbola civilis seditionis habet.

Because the holm-oak splits spontaneously through excessive inflexibility, it provides symbols for civic discord.

Notes:

1. Duritie nimia, ‘excessive inflexibility’. Cf. Pliny, Natural History, 16.73.186 (tota ossea est ilex, ‘the holm-oak is entirely bone-like’).


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