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Sycamine

SYCAMINE (συκάμινος, G5189) appears only once in Jesus’ words, “You could say to this sycamine tree...” (Luke 17:6). The word would be tr. “mulberry” or even “fig.”

There is little doubt that the sycamore (see Sycamore) and the sycamine are quite different trees. Sycamine is the black mulberry (Morus nigra) which grows naturally in Pal., and in Greece this tree is actually called sycaminos. In the Dictionary of the Royal Horticultural Society (1951) “Sycamine’ is given as Morus nigra or as Morus alba.

The Morus nigra is grown for its fruit, and the Morus alba for its leaves, which are the main food of silkworms. The sycamine tree may grow thirty-five ft. tall, producing a stiffbranched tree which gives dense shade. Morus nigra has been grown in Pal. since the earliest days, but Morus alba has been introduced into Pal. only during the last 100 years. The tree to which our Lord referred was undoubtedly the former.

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