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Ancient Egyptian plants: Introduction
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Plants divine, wild and domestic

Source: Jon Bodsworth     The plantlife of Egypt today is not quite the same as it was millennia ago. Climate changes occurred which caused the desertification of the savannah-like areas of what is the Sahara nowadays, when few plants flourish beyond the flood plain of the Nile.
    The growth of the human population and its need for agricultural produce led to the disappearance of the once vast areas of wild vegetation. The most famous victim of these changes was the papyrus plant, which has been re-introduced on a small scale in the 20th century.
    Many of the plants were useful to the Egyptians, some as food, others for their medicinal qualities, and a few for their beauty. Some drew the attention of foreigners like Strabo who wrote in his Geography:
To what has been said concerning Egypt, we must add these peculiar products; for instance, the Egyptian bean, as it is called, from which is obtained the ciborium, and the papyrus, for it is found here and in India only; the persea [peach] grows here only, and in Ethiopia; it is a lofty tree, and its fruit is large and sweet; the sycamine, which produces the fruit called the sycomorus, or fig-mulberry, for it resembles a fig, but its flavor is not esteemed. The corsium also (the root of the Egyptian lotus) grows there, a condiment like pepper, but a little larger.
Strabo, Geography
Text scanned and modernized by J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton

 


Picture source:
[ ] Jon Bodsworth
 

 
 
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