Theophrastus on geophytes
20.08.2021 MOSHE NEGBI

The nature of the geophilous organs of the geophytes described by Theophrastus (371-287 B.C.) in Historia Planiarum and De Causis Planlarum is presented and discussed. Most of the geophytes and the hydrogeophytes mentioned in these books (excluding species of Allium, biennial vegetables, and a few others) are critically reviewed. 

Certain lost agricultural practices mentioned by Theophrastus are strengthened and made explicable by comparisons from Pliny's Natural History, and Hebrew literature of the first centuries A.D.: Mishnah and Talmud. Theophrastus's interest in plants is shown to be of a pure nature although most of his examples are cultivated or otherwise useful plants. The possible sources of his knowledge of Egyptian plants are discussed.

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