manna


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manna

(măn`ə), in the Bible, edible substance provided by God for the people of Israel in the wilderness. In the Book of Exodus it is compared to coriander seed and described as fine, white, and flaky, with the taste of honey and wafer. In Christianity manna has been seen as prefiguring the Eucharist. The Biblical manna has been linked with the gum resin produced by several kinds of tree, especially the tamarisktamarisk
, shrub or small tree of the genus Tamarix, native chiefly to the Mediterranean area and to central Asia. The plants are often heathlike and thrive in arid and coastal regions.
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 tree Tamarix mannifera, with the dried sweet secretions of various insects that eat plant sap, and with a species of lichen still found in many sections of W Asia and N Africa.

Manna

 

a sugary exudate that forms primarily on the leaves of some hardwood trees and on spruce needles. It appears at night and in the morning. Its formation is increased by sharp fluctuations in temperature or humidity. Bees sometimes collect manna instead of nectar. Although manna is similar in composition to nectar, its sugar is not as easily digested by the bees. Honey made from this exudate is of a lower quality than floral honey, and, like honeydew honey, it can make wintering bees ill and lead to their death. Sometimes the word “manna” is used erroneously to designate the sweetish excretions of aphids and leafhoppers, as well as the sweet liquid exuded by the conidium generation of the fungus Claviceps purpurea (which causes ergot of grains).


Manna

 

in certain plants, the juice that exudes from damaged bark and from punctures made in the bark by insects; it congeals upon exposure to air. Manna is characteristic of flowering ash (Fraxinus ornus) and F. rotundifolia of the family Oleaceae, which are native to the Mediterranean region, and Tamarix mannifera of the family Tamaricaceae, which is native to South-west Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. It is a yellowish pellet that contains sugar and manitol. Manna was formerly used as a laxative.

manna

[′man·ə]
(materials)
The concrete, yellowish, saccharine exudation of the flowering ash (Fraxinus ornus); contains mannitol, sugar, mucilage, and resin and has been used as a mild laxative.

manna

given by the Lord to the Israelites. [O.T.: Exodus 16: 14–15]

manna

1. Old Testament the miraculous food which sustained the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14--36)
2. a sweet substance obtained from various plants, esp from an ash tree, Fraxinus ornus (manna or flowering ash) of S Europe, used as a mild laxative
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