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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 15

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articles European commerce, of which I shall speak more fully in its proper place, is chiefly concerned. The island used to furnish oil in such abundance that it was largely exported : now the produce is so greatly reduced that oil is frequently imported. In no less quantity was found giuggiolena, called here sesame, from the seeds of which was extracted oil, and as the people of Anatolia still grow it for export to the neighbouring coast of Syria, it used to be a great resource in years when there was a scarcity of olive oil. The plant sesame in height, in its leaves and flowers, is much like that which we call belluomo, and from the small seed which remains in the husk after it has reached maturity, is expressed the oil. When the island was thickly peopled, the inhabitants were wont to extract oil from sondro (glass wort) also, an expedient they were glad to use when neither olive nor sesame oil sufficed for their wants. In their extreme need they used also the fruit of another plant called Curtunîà (Palma Christi) which begins to show its fruit while it is quite small, and grows until a man can stand comfortably beneath it : its leaves are starshaped, and the stem reaches a circumference of a foot, but it is always green and soft and sappy. The fruit is as big as a French bean, and is composed, like a chestnut, of husk and skin, and, within, a nut rich in oily matter which is used generally, except as a condiment with food. The soil produces every kind of edible herb, and other wild plants, the better knowledge of which would be of no small honour to botany. Fruit is rare nowadays, because the trees have been neglected, but the island is rich in flowers, and a very little care suffices to rear and develop the most beautiful and delicate plants of Italy, France and Holland. Without culture there spring of themselves hyacinths, anemones, ranunculi, and double and single daffodils, which have as many as 14 bells on one stalk. They grow on the hills, whence the bulbs are transplanted to adorn our gardens : they are in ι] Island and Kingdom of Cyprus 11

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