elderberry

elder

[el-der]

European red elder (Sambucus racemosa).

Any of about 20–30 species, mainly shrubs and small trees, that make up the genus Sambucus, in the honeysuckle family. Most are native to forested temperate or subtropical areas. Elders are important as garden shrubs, as forest plants, and for their berries (elderberries), which provide food for wildlife and are used for wines, jellies, pies, and folk medicines. Elders have divided leaves and flat, roundish clusters of tiny, yellowish-white, saucer-shaped flowers. The American, or sweet, elder (S. canadensis) of North America is the most important species horticulturally.

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Hardy and fast-growing tree (Acer negundo), also called ash-leaved maple, of the maple family, native to the central and eastern U.S. Its compound leaves (rare among maples) consist of three, five, or seven coarsely toothed leaflets. The single seed is borne in a samara (dry, winged fruit). Because of its rapid growth and its drought resistance, it was widely planted for shade by early settlers in the prairie regions of the U.S. Maple syrup and sugar are sometimes obtained from the box elder. Its wood is used for crates, furniture, paper pulp, and charcoal.

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in full Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

(born 236—died 183 BC, Liternum, Campania) Roman general in the Second Punic War. He was born into a patrician family that had produced several consuls. As a military tribune, he fought at the Battle of Cannae (216), managing to escape from the defeat. While still young, he secured Spain for Rome by 206, driving the Carthaginians out and avenging his father's death. As consul in 205 he was granted permission to attack the Carthaginians in Africa. In 202 he was victorious over Hannibal at the Battle of Zama, ending the Second Punic War and winning the name Africanus. His political opponents, led by Cato, accused Scipio and his brother Lucius of offering too lenient terms to Macedonia after their engagement there and of not being able to account for money supposedly received in those terms. Though there was no evidence of his guilt, Scipio withdrew from public life and died a virtual exile.

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Latin Gaius Plinius Secundus

(born AD 23, Novum Comum, Transpadane Gaul—died Aug. 24, 79, Stabiae, near Mt. Vesuvius) Roman scholar. Descended from a prosperous family, Pliny pursued a military career, held official positions (including procurator of Spain), and later spent years in semiretirement, studying and writing. His fame rests on his Natural History (AD 77), an encyclopaedic work of uneven accuracy that was the European authority on scientific matters up to the Middle Ages. Six other works ascribed to him were probably lost in antiquity. He died while observing the great eruption of Vesuvius.

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