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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 588 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MANNA, a concrete saccharine exudation obtained by making incisions on the trunk of the flowering or manna ash tree, Fraxinus Ornus. The manna ash is a small tree found in Italy, and extending to Switzerland, South Tirol, Hungary, Greece, Turkey and Asia Minor. It also grows in the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia. It blossoms early in summer, producing numerous clusters of whitish flowers. At the present day the manna of commerce is collected exclusively in Sicily from cultivated trees, chiefly in the districts around Capaci, Carini, Cinisi and Favarota, small towns 20 to 25 M. W. of Palermo, and in the townships of Geraci, Castelbuono, and other places in the district of Cefalu, 50 to 70 M. E. of Palermo. In the frassinetti or plantations the of manna. The manna of the present day appears to have been unknown before the 15th century, although a mountain in Sicily with the Arabic name Gibelman, i.e. " manna mountain," appears to point to its collection there during the period that the island was held by the Saracens, 827-1070. In the 16th century it was collected in Calabria, and until recently was produced in the Tuscan Maremma, but none is now brought into commerce from Italy, although the name of Tolfa, a town near Civita Vecchia, is still applied to an inferior variety of the drug. Various other kinds of manna are known, but none of these has been found to contain mannite. Alhagi manna (Persian and Arabic tar-angubin, also known as terendschabin) is the produce of Alhagi maurorum, a small, spiny, leguminous plant, growing in Arabia, Asia Minor, Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and northern India. This manna occurs in the form of small, roundish, hard, dry tears, varying from the size of a mustard seed to that of a coriander, of a light-brown colour, sweet taste, and senna-like odour. The spines and pods of the plant are often mixed with it. It is collected near Kandahar and Herat, and imported into India from Cabal and Kandahar. Tamarisk manna (Persian gaz-angubin, tamarisk honey) exudes in June and July from the slender branches of Tamarix gallica, var. mannifera, in the form of honey-like drops, which, in the cold ternperature of the early morning, are found in the solid state. This secretion is caused by the puncture of an insect, Coccus manniparus. In the valleys of the peninsula of Sinai, especially in the Wady el-Sheikh, this manna (Arabic man), is collected by the Arabs and sold to the monks of St Catherine, who supply it to the pilgrims visiting the convent. It is found also in Persia and the Punjab, but does not appear to be collected in any quantity. This kind of manna seems to be alluded to by Herodotus (vii. 31). Under the same name of gaz-angubin there are sold commonly in the Persian bazaars round cakes, of which a chief ingredient is a manna obtained to the south-west of Ispahan, in the month of August, by shaking the branches or scraping the stems of Astragalus florulentus and A. adscendens.' Shir Khist, a manna known to writers on materia medica in the 16th century, is imported into India from Afghanistan and Turkestan to a limited extent; it is the produce of Cotoneaster nummularia (Rosaceae), and to a less extent of Atraphaxis spinosa (Polygonaceae); it is brought chiefly from Herat. ' See Bombay Lit. Tr., vol. i. art. 16, for details as to the gazangubin. A common Persian sweetmeat consists of wheat-flour kneaded with manna into a thick paste. Oak manna or Gueze-elefi, according to Haussknecht, is collected from the twigs of Quercus Vallonia and Q. persica, on which it is produced by the puncture of an insect during the month of August. This manna occurs in the state of agglutinated tears, and forms an object of some industry among the wandering tribes of Kurdistan. It is collected before sunrise, by shaking the grains of manna on to linen cloths spread out beneath the trees, or by dipping the small branches in hot water and evaporating the solution thus obtained. A substance collected by the inhabitants of Laristan from Pyrus glabra strongly resembles oak manna in appearance. Australian or Eucalyptus manna is found on the leaves of Eucalyptus viminalis, E. Gunnii, var. rubida, E. pulverulenta, &c. The Lerp manna of Australia is of animal origin. - Briancon manna is met with on the leaves of the common Larch (q.v.), and bide-khecht on those of the willow, Salix fragilis; and a kind of manna was at one time obtained from tae cedar. The manna of the Biblical narrative, notwithstanding the miraculous circumstances which distinguish it from anything now known, answers in its description very closely to the tamarisk manna. . See Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants (1880) ; Watt, Dictionary of Economic Products of India, under " Manna " (1891). For analyses see A. Ebert, Abst. J.C.S., 1909, 96, p. 176.
End of Article: MANNA
HORACE MANN (1796-1859)

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