PRICKLY-HEAT, s. A troublesome cutaneous rash (Lichen tropicus) in the form of small red pimples, which itch intolerably. It affects many Europeans in the hot weather. Fryer (pub. 1698) alludes to these “fiery pimples,” but gives the disease no specific name. Natives sometimes suffer from it, and (in the south) use a paste of sandal-wood to alleviate it. Sir Charles Napier in Sind used to suffer much from it, and we have heard him described as standing, when giving an interview during the hot weather, with his back against the edge of an open door, for the convenience of occasional friction against it. [See RED- DOG.]

1631.—“Quas Latinus Hippocrates Cornelius Celsus papulas, Plinius sudamina vocat … ita crebra sunt, ut ego adhuc neminem noverim qui molestias has effugerit, non magis quam morsas culicum, quos Lusitani Mosquitas vocant. Sunt autem haec papulae rubentes, et asperae aliquantum, per sudorem in cutem ejectæ; plerumque a capite ad calcem usque, cum summo pruritu, et assiduo scalpendi desiderio erumpentes.”—Jac. Bontii, Hist., Nat. &c., ii. 18, p. 33.

1665.—“The Sun is but just now rising, yet he is intolerable; there is not a Cloud in the Sky, not a breath of Wind; my horses are spent, they have not seen a green Herb since we came out of Lahor; my Indians, for all their black, dry, and hard skin, sink under it. My face, hands and feet are peeled off, and my body is covered all over with pimples that prick me, as so many needles.”—Bernier, E.T. 125; [ed. Constable, 389].

[1673.—“This Season … though moderately warm, yet our Bodies broke out into small fiery Pimples (a sign of a prevailing Crasis) augmented by MUSKEETOE-Bites, and Chinces raising Blisters on us.”—Fryer, 35.]

1807.—“One thing I have forgotten to tell you of—the prickly heat. To give you some notion of its intensity, the placid Lord William (Bentinck) has been found sprawling on a table on his back; and Sir Henry Gwillin, one of the Madras Judges, who is a Welshman, and a fiery Briton in all senses, was discovered by a visitor rolling on his own floor, roaring like a baited bull.”—Lord Minto in India, June 29.

1813.—“Among the primary effects of a hot climate (for it can hardly be called a disease) we may notice prickly heat.”—Johnson, Influence of Trop. Climates, 25.

PRICKLY-PEAR, s. The popular name, in both E. and W. Indies, of the Opuntia Dillenii, Haworth (Cactus Indica, Roxb.), a plant spread all over India, and to which Roxburgh gave the latter name, apparently in the belief of its being indigenous in that country. Undoubtedly, however, it came from America, wide as has been its spread over Southern Europe and Asia. On some parts of the Mediterranean shores (e.g. in Sicily) it has become so characteristic that it is hard to realize the fact that the plant had no existence there before the 16th century. Indeed at Palermo we have heard this scouted, and evidence quoted in the supposed circumstance that among the mosaics of the splendid Duomo of Monreale (12th century) the fig-leaf garments of Adam and Eve are represented as of this uncompromising material. The mosaic was examined by one of the present writers, with the impression that the belief has no good foundation. [See 8th ser. Notes and Queries, viii. 254.] The cactus fruit, yellow, purple, and red, which may be said to form an important article of diet in the Mediterranean, and which is now sometimes seen in London shops, is, not, as far as we know, anywhere used in India, except in times of famine. No cactus is named in Drury’s Useful Plants of India. And whether the Mediterranean plants form a different species, or varieties merely, as compared with the Indian Opuntia, is a matter for inquiry. The fruit of the Indian plant is smaller and less succulent. There is a good description of the plant and fruit in Oviedo, with a good cut (see Ramusio’s Ital. version, bk. viii. ch. xxv.). That author gives an amusing story of his first making acquaintance with the fruit in S. Domingo, in the year 1515.

Some of the names by which the Opuntia is known in the Punjab seem to belong properly to species of Euphorbia. Thus the Euphorbia Royleana, Bois., is called tsui, chu, &c.; and the Opuntia is called Kabuli tsui, Gangi sho, Kanghi chu, &c. Gangi chu is also the name of an Euphorbia sp. which Dr. Stewart takes to be the E. Neriifolia, L. (Punjab Plants, pp. 101 and 194-5). [The common name in Upper India for the prickly pear is nagphani, ‘snake-hood,’ from its shape.] This is curious; for although certain cactuses are very like certain Euphorbias, there is no Euphorbia resembling the Opuntia in form.

The Zakum mentioned in the Ain (Gladwin, 1800, ii. 68: [Jurrett, ii. 239; Sidi Ali, ed. Vambery, p. 31] as used for hedges in Guzerat, is doubtless Euphorbia also. The Opumia is very common as a hedge plant in cantonments, &c., and it was much used by Tippoo as an obstruction round his fortifications. Both the E. Royleana and the Opuntia are used for fences in parts of the Punjab. The latter is objectionable, from harbouring

  By PanEris using Melati.

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