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    Abstract

    ‘SÔMA.’—A note by Prof. G. Jouveau Dubreuil, in the Indian Antiquary for September, deals with the identity, of the sacred Sôma plant. Dr. Vincent Smith pointed out that while the plant used in the sacrifices of the Parsis of Yezd and Kirmôn, as well as of the Deccan and Bombay, is identified with one or other of the species of Asclepias, the real Sôma plant may have been different. Mr. Havell has suggested that it is Eleusine, the common millet still found in the Himalayas. An inquiry has been made as to the plant used by the Sômayagis, who practise the Soma sacrifice, among the Nambudris, a very high caste of Brahmans in the district of Malabar who, having been sheltered from invasion and change, have thus preserved the Vedic tradition. A reply was received from the great temple of Taliparamba where are the best examples of the agnidrîyas—the temples of the Vedic fire—that the Sômavalli plant was a rare plant found in the mountains and was obtained from a raja who lived at Kollangôd (ten miles south of Pâlghât). After some difficulty a specimen of the plant was obtained. It proved to be a climbing plant having a stem which was green, bare, round, and woody, and containing a milky liquor. It is absolutely without foliage, and has been identified as belonging to the genus Asclepias.

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    Research Items. Nature 118, 460–461 (1926). https://doi.org/10.1038/118460a0

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