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Sariffa Plinius circa nilum nascens duorum fere cubitorum altitudine policari crossitudine coma papaveris similique manditur modo radice ferrariis officinis precipua carbonis usu propter duritiem.


Sariffa AC | Sarifa B efjp | Saripha Pliny

{Plinius} herba add. e

fere ABC f | ferme (fer- ep) ejp

altitudine | altitudinẽ ms. e

policari (-cari p) AC fjp | pollicari C | policarius ms. e

crossitudine (-dĩe C) AC | grossitudĩe B j | crassitudine (-dĩe f) efp Pliny

papaveris | papyri Pliny

similique | pli’qʒ f {= plerique}

officinis AC fjp | oficinis B | officinariis ms. e

usu | insuper j

duritiem (-tiẽ A) AC | duriciem (-ciẽ ms. e) ef | duritiam (-tiã j) B j Pliny | duriciã p


Sariffa: Plinius says that it grows by the Nile, its height is almost two cubits and it has the thickness of a thumb and the foliage of papaver {"poppy"; Pliny: papyrus} and it is eaten in a similar fashion. It has a root, which is mainly used instead of charcoal in the forging smithies because of its hardness.


This is a near verbatim account of Pliny, 13, 45, 128, ed. Rackham (1938-63: IV.174). In turn Pliny’s account seems to be taken from Theophrastus Historia Plantarum 4, 5, 5, where the plant is called σάρι /sári/ [[1]] q.v. Apart from these two authors the plant is not described anywhere else.

Saripha or σάρι /sári/ are probably Egyptian loan words, perhaps denoting a kind of papyrus plant.

Botanical identification:

Most authors agree that it is a plant of the Cyperus genus, of which some like Cyperus longus L. [[2]] were in the past and still are used for human consumption.

WilfGunther (talk) 12:10, 23 August 2015 (BST)

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