Lucretius traces, in the fifth book of his poem, the progressive genesis of vegetal and animal forms out of the motherearth.
Large quantities of crin vegetal (vegetable horse-hair) an excellent fibre, are made from the leaves of the dwarf palm.
The chief exports are sheep and oxen, most of which are raised in Morocco and Tunisia, and horses; animal products, such as wool and skins; wine, cereals (rye, barley, oats), vegetables, fruits (chiefly figs and grapes for the table) and seeds, esparto grass, oils and vegetable extracts (chiefly olive oil), iron ore, zinc, natural phosphates, timber, cork, crin vegetal and tobacco.
It is noteworthy that he sought to establish the identity of organic and inorganic matter by help of the facts of vegetal and animal nutrition.
In his Dialogues concerning Natural Religion he puts forward tentatively, in the person of one of his interlocutors, the ancient hypothesis that since the world resembles an animal or vegetal organism rather than a machine, it might more easily be accounted for by a process of generation than by an act of creation.