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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 16

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great demand in France and Holland, where they are carefully cultivated ; many thousands are sent there every year. The gardens are very rich in all the species of Citrus, especially oranges of an exquisite and most delicate flavour. Among the wild plants is found the little bee orchis, which we call fiore ape, and the Greeks μέλισσα, from its likeness to a bee. It sends up one or, at the most, two stalks, and on each stalk there are five or six flowers : the root is bulbous, and its juice is used in the cure of wounds. The Cypriots cultivate a plant which they call henna; it grows to the height and thickness of a pomegranate tree, which it nearly resembles in its stem and branches, the leaves are like those of the myrtle ; and the flowers like a thick cluster of the flower of the vine. An oil is extracted from it, whose virtues are those of balsam. The odour is very pleasing to orientals, but Europeans find it rank and unbearable. When the flower has fallen, a fruit is formed like a large coriander seed. The leaves, dry or fresh, when boiled in water produce a fine orange dye, with which the Turkish women and a few Greeks stain their nails and the palms of their hands, with the idea that it refreshes the body. They dye their hair with it, as an adornment. And so tenacious is the dye, that it is not easy except by a long lapse of time to efface it. The Venetians when they were lords here used to dye their horses' coats with this colour ; now, so far as regards animals, this custom is confined to white greyhounds and horned cattle. Since the number of the inhabitants has diminished, a large part of the island is uncultivated, and yields only thyme and marjoram. These give a pleasant smell as one passes over the plains, and are used as brushwood to heat ovens and furnaces. In the caves of a mountain near Paphos is found a very perfect kind of rock crystal, commonly called from its lustre Paphos diamonds : it is cut and polished like other precious stones. It is forbidden under severe penalties to carry off the 12 A General View of the [CH.

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