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Herbs, flowers, and garden vegetables
Of herbs possessing some value for man, Phoenicia produces sage, rose
mary, lavender, rue, and wormwood. Of flowers she has an extraordinary abundance. In early spring (March and April) not only the plains, but the very mountains, except where they consist of bare rock, are covered with a variegated carpet of the loveliest hues from the floral wealth scattered over them. Bulbous plants are especially numerous. Travellers mention hyacinths, tulips, ranunculuses, gladioli, anemones, orchises, crocuses of several kinds --blue and yellow and white, arums, amaryllises, cyclamens, &c., besides heaths, jasmine, honeysuckle, clematis, /multiflora/ roses, rhododendrons, oleander, myrtle, astragalus, hollyhocks, convolvuli, valerian, red linum, pheasant's eye, guelder roses, antirrhinums, chrysanthemums, blue campanulas, and mandrakes. The orchises include "/Ophrys atrata/, with its bee-like lip, another like the spider orchis, and a third like the man orchis;" the cyclamens are especially beautiful, "nestling under every stone and lavish of their loveliness with graceful tufts of blossoms varying in hue from purest white to deepest purple pink." The multiflora rose is not common, but where it grows "covers the banks of streams with a sheet of blossom;"the oleanders fringe their waters with a line of ruby red; the mandrake (/Mandragora officinalis/) is "one of the most striking plants of the country, with its flat disk of very broad primrose-like leaves, and its central bunch of dark blue bell-shaped blossom." Ferns also abound, and among them is the delicate maidenhair.
The principal garden vegetables grown at the present day are melons, cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins, turnips, carrots, and radishes. The kinds of grain most commonly cultivated are wheat, barley, millet, and maize. There is also an extensive cultivation of tobacco, indigo, and cotton, which have been introduced from abroad in comparatively modern times. Oil, silk, and fruits are, however, still among the chief articles of export; and the present wealth of the country is attributable mainly to its groves and orchards, its olives, mulberries, figs, lemons, and oranges.
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