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Gerard's Herbal Vol. 5

Gerard's Herbal - CHAP. 120. Of the Plane Tree.

CHAP. 120. Of the Plane Tree.

Fig. 2085. Plane

The Description.

The Plane is a great tree, having very long and far spreading boughs casting a wonderful broad shadow, by reason whereof it was highly commended and esteemed of among the old Romans: the leaves are cornered like those of Palma Christi, greater than Vine leaves, and hanging upon little red footstalks: the flowers are small and mossy, and of a pale yellowish colour: the fruit is round like a ball, rugged, and somewhat hairy; but in Asia more hairy and greater, almost as big as a walnut: the root is great, dispersing itself far abroad.

The Place.

The Plane tree delighteth to grow by springs or rivers: Pliny reports that they were wont to be cherished with wine: they grew afterward(saith he) to be of so great honour (meaning the Plane trees) as that they were cherished and watered with wine: and it is found by experience that the same is very comfortable to the roots, and we have already taught, that trees desire to drink wine. This tree is stange in Italy, it is nowhere seen in Germany, nor in the Low Countries: in Asia it groweth plentifully: it is found also in Candy, growing in valleys, and near unto the hill Athos, as Petrus Bellonius in his Singularities doth declare: it groweth in many places of Greece, and is found planted in some places of Italy, for pleasure rather than for profit. My servant William Marshall (whom I sent into the Mediterranean sea as surgeon unto the Hercules of London) found divers trees hereof growing in Lepanto, hard by the seaside, at the entrance into the town, a port of Morea, being a part of Greece, and from thence brought one of those rough buttons, being the fruit thereof. There are one or two young ones at this time growing with Mr Tradescant.

The Plane trees cast their leaves in winter, as Bellonius testifieth, and therefore it is no marvel that they keep away the sun in summer, and not at all in winter: there is, saith Pliny, no greater commendation of the tree, than that it keepeth away the sun in summer, and entertaineth it in winter.

The Names.

This tree is called in Greek, Platanos: and likewise in Latin Platanus: it beareth his name of the breadth: the French men's Plasne doth far differ from this, which is a kind of Maple: this tree is named in English, Plane tree.

The Temperature and virtues.

A. The Plane tree is of a cold and moist essence, as Galen saith: the green leaves are good to be laid upon hot swellings and inflammations in the beginning.

B. Being boiled in wine they are a remedy for the running and the watering of the eyes, if they be applied.

C. The bark and balls do dry: the bark boiled in vinegar helpeth the toothache.

D. The fruit of the Plane tree drunk with wine helpeth the bitings of mad dogs and serpents, and mixed with hog's grease it maketh a good ointment against burning and scalding.

E. The burned bark doth mightily dry, and scoureth withal; it removeth the white scurf, and cureth moist ulcers

F. The dust or down, saith Galen, that lieth on the leaves of the tree is to be taken heed of, for if it be drawn in with the breath, it is offensive to the windpipe by his extreme dryness, and making the same rough, and hurting the voice, as it doth also the sight and hearing, if it fall into the eyes or ears. Dioscorides doth not attribute this to the dust or down of the leaves only, but also to that of the balls.

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