The Ten Books on Architecture, 8.1.3

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 8.1.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 8.1.4 ›››

Gwilt translation

3Besides the above signs for ascertaining in what places water may be found, are the following: when a place abounds with the slender bulrush, the wild willow, the alder, the withy, reeds, ivy, and other plants of a similar sort, which neither spring up nor flourish without moisture. For these plants usually grow about lakes, which, being lower than the other parts of a country, receive both the rain water and that of the district, through the winter, and, from their size, preserve the moisture for a longer period. On these, however, we must not rely. But in those districts and lands, no lakes being near, where the plants in question grow spontaneously, there we may search.

Morgan translation

3In the kinds of soil described above, signs will be found growing, such as slender rushes, wild willows, alders, agnus castus trees, reeds, ivy, and other plants of the same sort that cannot spring up of themselves without moisture. But they are also accustomed to grow in depressions which, being lower than the rest of the country, receive water from the rains and the surrounding fields during the winter, and keep it for a comparatively long time on account of their holding power. These must not be trusted, but the search must be made in districts and soils, yet not in depressions, where those signs are found growing not from seed, but springing up naturally of themselves.