|In his encyclopaedic work Natural History, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder wrote of the remarkable resilience of trees, and includes an example of a white poplar in Stageira which is said to have survived a catastrophe. Unfortunately there are no longer poplars in Stageira.
Chapter 57. Trees which have grown spontaneously from the ground.
"It is a not uncommon thing for trees when uprooted to receive new strength when replanted, the earth about their roots forming a sort of cicatrix there. This is particularly the case with the plane, which, from the density of its branches, presents a remarkably broad surface to the wind: when this happens, the branches are cut off, and the tree, thus lightened, is replaced in its furrow: this, too, has also been done before now with the walnut, the olive, and many others.
32. We have many instances cited also of trees falling to the ground without there being any storm or other perceptible cause, but merely by way of portentous omen, and then rising again of themselves.
A prodigy of this nature happened to the citizens of Rome during their wars with the Cimbri: at Nuceria, in the grove consecrated to Juno, an elm inclined to such a degree, even after the top had been cut off, as to overhang the altar there, but it afterwards recovered itself to such an extent as to blossom immediately: it was from that very moment, too, that the majesty of the Roman people began to flourish once again after it had been laid low by disaster and defeat.
A similar circumstance is said to have taken place also at Philippi, where a willow, which had fallen down, and the top of which had been taken off, rose again; and at Stageira, in the Museum * there, where the same thing occurred to a white poplar; all which events were looked upon as favourable omens.
But what is most wonderful of all, is the fact that a plane, at Antandros, resumed its original position even after its sides had been rough-hewn all round with the adze, and took root again: it was a tree fifteen cubits long, and four ulnae in thickness **."
* A grove, probably, consecrated to the Muses.
** 686 cm (22½ feet) high and 183 cm (6 feet) thick
Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History, Book 16, chapter 57. At Perseus Digital Library.