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Thereby for example the session information or language setting are stored on your computer. Without cookies the range of the online shop's functionality is limited. Items in Cart: The Shopping Cart is empty. Item No. Name, Common Name. It is a widely distributed species, flowering from April to June, and found on shady banks, and in woods. The name Fragaria is from the Latin fragrans, fragrant, and has reference to the perfumed fruit. Nestling closely among the grass of heaths and dry pastures, the Milkwort, though commonly and profusely distributed, is not a well-known plant.
It is only a few inches in height, and scarcely noticeable when not in flower. The narrow, tough leaves are scattered alternately on the stem. The broad inner two of the five sepals are coloured purple, and the corolla may be the same hue, or pink, blue, white or lilac. The structure of the flower is very curious, and should be carefully noted by aid of the pocket-lens. The stamens cohere, and the corolla is attached to the sheath thus formed.
The pistil has a protecting hood over it, obviously with reference to the visits of insects ; but the flower is also self-fertile.
When the fruit is formed the sepals turn green. There are two other British species : I. Proliferous Milkwort P. Inner sepals broader and longer. Dry soils in south and south-east of England. Bitter Milkwort P. Very rare. Found only on the margins of rills in Teasdale, and Wye Down, Kent. They all flower from June to August. The Germander Speedwell Veronica chamcedrys is the representative of a genus which includes sixteen native species, most of them with bright blue flowers of a particular form. The corolla is tubular for half its length, the upper portion divided into four spreading lobes, of which the upper and lower are usually broader than the lateral pair.
The two stamens are attached within the corolla-tube just below the upper lobe, and the anthers and stigma protrude beyond the mouth of the tube. It is a most dis- appointing flower to gather, for the corollas readily drop off, and the beauty of the " button-hole " has rapidly passed. A fine robust species, the Brooklime V. The Spurge Family Euphorbia. The whole of the British species of Spurge have a singular character, which enables the tyro in botanical matters to deter- mine the genus at a glance, though he may not be so success- 29 Sun Spurge. Cypress Spurge. Euphorbia helioscopia.
Euphorbia cyparissias. Rubus csesius. This singularity is chiefly due to the colour and arrangement of their flowers. These possess neither sepals nor petals ; instead, a number of unisexual flowers are wrapped in an involucre. An individual involucre of, say, the Sun Spurge, should be detached and examined with the aid of the pocket-lens.
It will be seen to have four lobes, to each of which is attached an orbicular yellow gland. Within the involucre are several flowers, each consisting of a single stamen on a separate flower-stalk note joint , and from the midst of these arises a single pistillate flower on a long, curved stalk. With slight variations this is the form of inflorescence which characterizes the whole genus.
The British species may be briefly enumerated thus : I. Sun Spurge E. Milky juice used as a wart-cure. Waste places, June to October. Broad-leaved Spurge E. Leaves broad, lance-shaped, sharp-pointed, toothed above middle. Fruit capsule warted. Fields and waste places from York southwards : rare. July to October. Irish Spurge E. Leaves thin, ovate, not toothed, tip blunt or notched ; upper leaves heart-shaped. Glands of involucre purple, kidney-shaped. Flowers May and June. Juice used by salmon-poachers for poisoning rivers. Wood Spurge E. Perennial, stout, red, shrubby. Leaves obovate, thick, tough, reddish, 2 to 3 inches long, hairy beneath, lower on short stalks.
Involucral glands half-moon shaped, yellow. Woods and copses, chiefly on clay soils. Flowers March to May.
Petty Spurge E. Leaves thin, broadly obovate, on short stalks, inch long. Involucral glands half-moon shaped lunate , with long horns. Waste ground, market-gardens and flower-beds. July to November. Dwarf Spurge E. Much branched. Leaves very narrow and stiff. Involucres small, almost stalkless. Involucral glands, rounded with two blunt-pointed horns. Fields, especially on light soil. Perennial, tufted, many-branched stems. Leaves tough, obovate acute, spreading. Involucral glands, lunate, with two long horns.
Sandy shores, on South and West coasts, and in Ireland. May to August. Sea Spurge E. Leaves narrow, concave, very thick, arranged in whorls, Points of involucral glands short. Sandy shores, July to October. Leafy-branched Spurge E. Rootstock creeping. Stem slender. Leaves thin, narrow, sometimes toothed. Involucres small, on long stalks, glands lunate, with short straight horns.
Woods and fields ; Jersey, Forfar, Edin- burgh, and Alnwick. Cypress Spurge E, cyparissias. Leaves very narrow, not toothed. Woods, England, June and July. Caper Spurge E. Stem short and stout, 3 to 4 feet second year. Leaves narrow, broader at base, opposite, alternate pairs placed at right angles to each other decussate. Copses and woods, June and July. Fruit used as a condiment. Purple Spurge E. Stems prostrate, purple, glaucous. Leaves oblong, heart-shaped, thick, on short stalks, with stipules, opposite. Glands oblong. July to September. All the species have milky sap.
Dewberry Rubus casius. Plate A sub-species of the Blackberry ; too well known to require description. The Woodbine or Common Honeysuckle is one of the most familiar of our wild flowers, and as great a favourite as any. It owes its popularity not only to the beauty of its flowers, but also to its strong sweet odour, and in some measure to its graceful twining habit. The tough stem grows to a great length ten to twenty feet in some cases and always twines from left to right. The flowers are clustered, the calyces closely crowded, five-toothed.
The corolla-tube may be from one to two inches long, the free end limb] divided into five lobes, which split irregularly into two opposite lips. It is rich in honey, the corolla being often half filled with it, and con- sequently it is a great favourite with bees and moths, who are 31 Perfoliate Honeysuckle. Lonicera caprifolium. Purple Dead-nettle. Lamium purpureum. The flowers are succeeded by a cluster of round crimson berries.
Widely distributed in hedges, copses, and on heaths. Perfoliate Honeysuckle L. The corolla-tubes are longer than in the common species, and it therefore becomes impossible for even the longest-tongued bees to carry off much of the honey. Moths with their long trunks can ; and consequently they swarm upon it at night, and carry the pollen from plant to plant. This species may be found in copses in Oxfordshire and Cam- bridgeshire, but is believed to be only naturalized not a true native.
Dead Nettles Lamium. Our forefathers, when giving English names to plants, found it by no means easy work, and the greater number of our native species they left unnamed altogether. Many of the names they did invent were made to serve many times by the simple expedient of prefixing adjectives. Thus, having decided on Nettle as the distinctive name of certain stinging herbs Urtica , they made it available for the entirely unrelated genus Lamium by calling the species Dead or stingless nettles.
In a similar fashion they made Hemp-nettle, and Hedge-nettle. In the absence of flowers the difference may be quickly seen by cutting the stems across, when Urtica will exhibit a round solid section, whilst Lamium is square and tubular. The flowers, like those of Bugle page 21 and Meadow-Sage p. The calyx is tubular, with five teeth. The corolla tubular, with dilated throat, whence the name from Laimos Gr.
The British species are five : I. Red Dead Nettle Lamium piirptireuni. Leaves heart-shaped, with rounded teeth, stalked. Bases of flower-bracts not overlapping. Corolla purplish-red. Whole plant often purple. Hedge-banks and waste places. April to October. Intermediate Dead Nettle L. Intermediate between the first and the next species, but more robust. Bracts overlapping. Teeth much longer than calyx-tube, spreading. Cultivated ground, not in S. June to September. Henbit Dead Nettle Z-.
Corolla slender, deep rose-colour, often deformed. Bracts broad, overlapping. Waste places. April to August. Above three species are annuals, the remainder perennials. White Dead Nettle L. Corolla large, creamy white, upper lip vaulted. Calyx teeth long. March to December. Yellow Archangel L. Corolla yellow, the lower lip orange, spotted with brown.
Hedges and woods. May and June. Trailing among the grass of the copse and hedgebank the Ground Ivy is one of the earliest of flowers to appear in spring. The slender square stem creeps along, and wherever it puts forth a pair of leaves it sends down a tuft of fibrous roots also. The leaves are roundish, kidney-shaped, deeply round-toothed on the margin.
The flowers are borne in the axils of leaf-like bracts. The corolla-tube is long, slender at base, afterwards dilating. Some of the purple-blue flowers are large and perfect, others small and devoid of stamens. March to June. There is a closely allied, but rare, species called the Catmint N. Nepeta glechoma. Ivy-leaved Toadflax. Linaria cymbalaria. Geranium rotundifolium. This has an erect stem, with leaves approaching more to heart-shape, the teeth sharper ; both stem and leaves downy and whitish.
Flowers white, marked with rose-colour. The name Nepeta is the classical Latin one, and is said to have been given because the plant was common round the town of Nepet in Tuscany. The Ivy-leaved Toad-flax Linaria cyuibalaria will be found forming a beautiful tapestry on ruins and old walls. It is a Continental species, and those found naturalized here are believed to be the descendants of greenhouse escapes.
The stems are very long and slender ; the leaves lobed like certain forms of Ivy, often purple beneath, dark green above. The calyx is five-parted, and the corolla is like that of the familiar Snapdragon of our gardens. The two lips are so formed that they close the mouth of the corolla, which is hence said to be personate or masked ; the tube is spurred, in which it differs from Snapdragon. When the seed- capsule is nearly ripe it turns about on its stalk and seeks a cranny in the wall, where it can disperse its seeds.
Flowers July to September. The name Linaria is derived from the Latin Linum, from the resemblance of the leaves of the common Toad-flax see page to those of the Flax see page This neat member of a charming family is by no means a common plant ; in fact, northward of South Wales and Norfolk it is unknown. Southward it may be found in hedges and waste places, flowering in June and July.
The stems are slight, and greatly swollen at the joints. The leaf-stalks are long, and the leaves, though their general outline is kidney-shaped, are deeply cut into about seven lobes, which are in turn lobed or toothed. The sepals end each in a hard point in botanists' language they are mucronate the margin of the narrow petals is entire, that is, not notched, and the narrow lower portion claw is not fringed with hairs. The carpels, or divisions of the seed-vessel, are keeled but not wrinkled, and the seeds are pitted.
Its nearest allies are : I. The Dove's-foot Crane's-bill G. Flowers more rosy than rotiindifoliuin. Small-flowered Crane's-bill G. Leaves more deeply lobed, sepals as long as the notched petals, claw slightly hairy. Flowers, pale rose. Long-stalked Crane's-bill G. Lobes of leaves distant from each other, the segments into which they are again cut being very narrow ; sepals large, acuminate and awned, as long as the entire rose-purple petals ; claws less hairy than in last.
All the leaf and flower-stalks long. Cut-leaved Crane's-bill G. Similar to G. Bright red petals, notched. Herb-Robert G. Plant more or less red. Leaves divided into five leaflets, these again divided. Calyx angular, the sepals long-awned and hairy. Petals narrow and entire ; purple streaked with red ; claw smooth.
Shining Crane's-bill G. Plant more or less crimson in summer. Leaves divided into five segments, each bluntly lobed at the top. The calyx is a wrinkled pyramid, each sepal awned. The rosy petals are much longer than the sepals ; claw smooth. There are two lines of hairs on the upper branches. All the above are annual or biennial plants. The name of the genus is from the Greek geranos, a crane, from a fancied resemblance in the fruit to a Crane's-bill. The mechanism for the dispersal of seeds in the Crane's-bills is worthy of attention. When the petals fall off the carpels enlarge, and the outer layer of the style separates from the axis, splitting into five portions, each attached to a carpel at the bottom and to the style at top.
The axis of the style further elongates, but the tails of the carpels do not, and there is, in consequence, great tension, which ends in the carpel being detached from its base. The " tail " curls up, the carpel is reversed, and the seed drops out. The Hemlock Stork's-bill Erodium cicutariuui.
Closely related to the Crane's bills and at one time included in the genus Geranium with them are the Stork's-bills, of 35 Stork's-bill. Erodium cicutarium. Achillea millefolium. Only one of the three, however, is at all plentiful, and that is the one we have figured. It is a common species, but must be looked for on dry wastes and commons, especially near the coast. Quite apart from its umbels of pretty pink flowers it is a handsome plant. The leaves are cut up into a large number of leaflets, arranged in slightly irregular pairs on either side of the rib, and these leaflets are cut up into many irregular lobes.
The parts of the flower agree in number with Geranium, that is, sepals five, petals five, stamens ten but five are aborted, and pro- duce no anthers , stigmas five. The fruits agree pretty closely with those of the Crane's-bills, but in Er odium the tails of the car- pels are lined on their inner face with fine silky hairs, and instead of curling simply they twist spirally, and cause the hairs to stand out at right angles. The seed remains attached to the tail, which becomes detached from the axis of the style and is blown to the ground.
There the twisted tail is alternately lengthened and shortened by moisture and dryness of the atmosphere, and with assistance of the hairs this automatic movement gradually forces the pointed hairy seed into the ground. It flowers from June to September. The Musky Stork's-bill E. The Sea Stork's-bill E. Leaves narrow, heart-shaped, lobed and toothed. Petals minute, pale pink, sometimes absent. Sandy and gravelly coasts : rare. May to September. Name from Greek, Erodios, a heron. Yarrow or Milfoil Achilka millefolium.
One of the commonest weeds in pastures, or on commons, roadside wastes, and often on lawns, is the Yarrow. This is especially the case with the leaves radical that spring directly from the creeping root ; those given off by the flowering stem become more simple as they near the summit. Unlike as the flowers may at first sight appear to those of the Daisy and Dandelion, those of the Yarrow are also composites. The yellowish disc-florets are tubular, and contain both anthers and stigmas ; the white or pink ray-florets are pistillate only. It abounds on all commons, pastures and wastes, flowering from June till the end of the year.
There is one other British species, The Sneeze wort A. Its flower-heads are much fewer than in Yarrow, and its leaves are more simple in character, the edges being merely cut into teeth. The disc-florets are more green than yellow. It is about a month later than Yarrow in coming into flower, but thereafter the two species keep time together. The name Achillea was given to the genus in honour of Achilles, who is reputed to have used Yarrow for the purpose of staunching his wounds. Groundsel Senecto mtgaris. We have selected this very vulgar plant as a familiar example of a genus that contains some very striking species.
They all produce composite flowers, but in this common weed the ray- florets are usually wanting, and consequently the few cylindric flower-heads have a very singular appearance. The leaves are deeply cut, the lobes irregularly toothed. The flowers are suc- ceeded by the well-known fluffy pappus attached to the seeds, which has enabled the plant to become one of the most widely distributed in all temperate and cold climates.
It is to this hoary head of seed-bearers that the genus is indebted for its 37 Groundsel. Senecio vulgai-is. Lolium perenne. Bromus erectus. There are other eight British species, of which the most frequent are briefly noted below. Mountain Groundsel S. Leaves similar to S. When the ray is present it is rolled back. The flower- heads are more numerous than in vulgaris.
Plant with unpleasant foetid smell. Dry upland banks and pastures. Stinking Groundsel S. More objectionable-smelling than the last. Leaves broader, more divided, glandular, hairy and viscid. Plant much branched and spreading. Flowers larger : rays rolled back. Waste ground. July and August. Ragwort S, jacobad. Stem thick and leafy, 2 to 4 feet high, somewhat cottony, with clusters of large golden yellow flower-heads with spreading rays Leaves finely lobed and toothed.
Waysides, woods and pastures. June to October. Very plentiful. Hoary Ragwort S, erucifoliits. Similar to the last, but the stem more loosely cottony ; the segments of the leaves more regular and less divided ; rootstock creeping. Hedges and roadsides. Water Ragwort S. Wet places, riversides, ditches. Rye -grass Lelium perenne , and Upright Brome Bromus erectus. The structure of grass-flowers has been already described, and the reader should refer back to page The inflorescence is a spike, the spikelets arranged in two rows, with their edges to the stem, which is channelled.
There is only one outer glume, which is strongly ribbed, and shorter than the spikelet. The flowering glumes number from six to ten, or more. This is one of the grasses that send forth leafy runners, which root and occupy surrounding ground. It is one of the most valuable to the farmer, on account of it early ripening, and its usefulness either for permanent pasture or for cropping.
With good management as many as four crops may be obtained in one year. It grows in all waste places, and flowers in May. The Darnel L. Its presence among wheat is dreaded, as when ground up into flour it is believed to produce headache, vertigo, and other symptoms of poisoning. Darnel is the Tares of the New Testament, and is one of the very few grasses that are deleterious. Upright Brome Bromus erectus is a perennial of strong growth, with stout creeping rootstock, sending up smooth and rigid stems 2 or 3 feet in height.
The narrow leaves have their edges rolled inwards. The inflorescence is a lax panicle ; the spikelets purplish in tint. The two empty glumes are unequal, and contain from five to eight flowering glumes, with awns, and hairy all over. There are seven other British species in the genus. Henbane Uyoscyamus niger. At one time the Henbane was held in great esteem as a medi- cinal plant, and was then to be found very commonly on rubbish heaps, and the banks of ditches. Although it is still retained in the Pharmacopoeia, its empirical use is not so great as for- merly, neither does the plant appear to be so plentiful as of old.
Its appearance and smell are somehow suggestive of its evil nature. It has a stout, branching stem, growing to a height of about two feet. The leaves are oblong, with irregular lobes, and the bases of the upper ones clasp the stem. The flowers spring from the axils of the leaves, and are almost stalkless. The calyx is pitcher-shaped, with a five-toothed mouth. The corolla is funnel-shaped, with five unequal lobes, and of a dingy yellow, streaked with purple-brown veins, though a form occurs with the corolla uniformly yellow.
The five stamens are inserted at the base of the corolla-tube, and end in purple anthers, discharging their pollen by slits. The ovary is two- celled, supporting a simple style with a round head the stigma. The whole plant is densely covered with sticky hairs. On fertilization the ovary grows into a constricted capsule, with a distinct lid, which drops off to release the numerous seeds.
It is the only British representative of the genus, which is said to get its name from two Greek words, Us, a hog, and Kuamos, a bean, but such etymology cannot be considered at all satisfactory. It flowers from June to August. Hyoscyamus niger. Briza media. Alopecurus pratensis. The Totter-grass differs so strongly in appearance from other grasses that minute description is unnecessary except as an aid in making out the structure.
Every child that plays in the meadow singles this out as the most desirable acquisition among grasses, because of its constant tremblings. The inflor- escence is a very loose pyramidal panicle, due to the extremely long and hair-like stalks upon which the shining purple spikelets are swung. The empty glumes are two ; flowering glumes six to eight. The stem creeps below the surface, and the leaves are flat. The plant is perennial ; but there is another species, the Small Quake-grass B. This is not so common a plant, and is found chiefly between Cornwall and Hampshire.
It is much smaller than B. The name Briza is Greek, and was anciently applied to some kind of corn. The Meadow Foxtail Alopecurns pratensis bears a general resemblance to Timothy page 25 , to which it is not distantly allied ; but from which it differs in having no pale or scales. Its cylindrical panicle is yellowish-green, with silvery hairs, the branches bearing three to six spikelets. It is a perennial plant, and produces runners. It forms a valuable portion of all good pastures, the herbage being exceedingly nutritive. The name is Greek, signifying Foxtail.
There are three other native species in the genus : I. Slender Foxtail A. Panicle slender, often purplish, branches hairy, with two spikelets. A wayside weed. May to October. Alpine Foxtail A. Panicle ovate, short, f inch, branches with four to six spikelets. Anthers yellow. Rare, near alpine streams, from 2, to 3, feet. Floating Foxtail A. Stems, procumbent and rooting. Panicle dense, slender. Branches with one spikelet. It contains sulphur, and a special ardent volatile medicinal oil. The small leaves combined with those of our white garden Mustard are excellent against rheu- matism and gout.
Likewise it is a preventive of scurvy by reason of its mineral salts. According to an analysis made recently in the school of Pharmacy at Paris, the Water-cress contains asulpho- nitrogenous oil, iodine, iron, phosphates, potash, certain other earthy salts, a bitter extract, and water. Its volatile oil which is rich in nitrogen, and sulphur problematical is the sulpho-cyanide of ally 1. Anyhow there is much sulphur possessed by the whole plant in one form or another, together with a considerable quantity of mineral matter.
Thus the popular plant is so constituted as to be particularly curative of scrofu- lous affections, especially in the spring time, when the bodily humours are on the ferment. Its active principles are at their best when the plant is in flower; and the amount of essential oil increases according to the quantity of sunlight which the leaves obtain, the proportion of iron being deter- CRESSES.
The leaves remain green when grown in the shade, but become of a purple brown because of their iron when exposed to the sun. The expressed juice, which contains the peculiar taste and pungency of the herb, may be taken in doses of from one to two fluid ounces at each of the three principal meals, and it should always be had fresh. In France the "YY ater-cress is dipped in oil and vinegar to be eaten at table with chicken ora steak.
The Englishman takes it at his morning or evening meal, with bread and butter, or at dinner in a salad. It loses some of its pungent flavour and of its curative qualities when cultivated ; and therefore it is more appetising and useful when freshly gathered from natural streams. But these streams ought to be free from contamination by sewage matter, or any drainage which might convey the germs of fever, or other blood poison : for, as we are admonished, the Water-cress plant acts as a brush in impure running brooks to detain around the stalks and leaves any dirty disease-bringing fiocculi.
Some of our leading druggists now make for medicinal use a liquid extract of the Nasturtium Officinale, and a spirituous juice or succus , of the plant. These prepar- ations are of marked service in scorbutic cases, where weakness exists without wasting, and often with spongy gums, or some skin eruption. It was brought from Peru to France in , and was called La grande, Capucine. Two years later it was introduced into England. It partakes of the sensible and useful qualities of the other Cresses. The fresh plant and the dark yellow flowers have an odour like that of the Water-cress, and its bruised leaves emit a pungent smell.
An infusion made with water will bring out the antiscorbutic virtues of the plant, which are specially aromatic, and cordial. Invalids have often preferred this plant to the Scurvy grass as an antiscorbutic remedy. In the warm summer months the flowers have been observed about the time of sunset to give out sparks, as of an electrical kind.
This is thought to be the famous Ilerba Britannic, a of the ancients. Our great navigators have borne testimony to its never failing use in scurvy, and, though often growing many miles from the sea, yet the taste of the herb is always found to be salt. If eaten in its fresh state, as a salad, it is the most effectual of all the antiscorbutic plants, the leaves being admirable also to cure swollen and spongy gums.
In Cornwall the flowering tops have been employed for the cure of epilepsy throughout several generations with reputed success ; though the use of the leaves only for this purpose has caused disappointment. The bushes which produce this fruit grow wild in the Northern parts of Great Britain, and belong to the Saxifrage order of plants. The wild Red Currant bears small berries which are intensely acid. In modern Italy basketfuls are gathered in the woods of the Apennines, and the Alps. Currants are not mentioned in Greek or Roman literature, nor do they seem to have been cultivated by the Anglo-Saxons, or the Normans.
Our several sorts of Currants afford a striking illustration of the mode which their parent bushes have learnt to adopt so as to attract by their highly coloured fruits the birds which shall disperse their seeds. These colours are not developed until the seed is ripe for germination ; because if birds devoured them prematurely the seed would fall inert.
But simultaneously come the ripeness and the soft sweet pulp and the rich colouring, so that the birds may be attracted to eat the fruit, and spread the seed in their droppings. White Currants are the most simple in kind ; and the Bed are a step in advance. Nitric acid will convert this pectin into oxalic acid, or salts of sorrel. The juice of red Currants also contains malic and citric acids, which are cooling and wholesome. In the Northern counties this red Currant is called Winebcrry, or Garnetberry from its rich ruddy colour, and trans- parency.
Its sweetened juice is a favourite drink in Paris, being preferred there to the syrup of orgeat almonds. This fruit especially suits persons of sanguine temperament. Both red and white Currants are really trustworthy remedies in most forms of obstinate visceral obstruction, and they correct impurities of the blood. The black Currant is found growing wild in England, for the most part by the edges of brooks, and in moist grounds, from mid-Scotland southwards.
The fruit is cooling, laxative, and anodyne. The leaf glands of its young leaves secrete from their under surface a fragrant odorous fluid. Therefore if newly gathered, and infused for a moment in very hot water and then dried, the leaves make an excellent substitute for tea; also these fresh leaves when applied to a gouty part will assuage pain, and inflam- mation.
Bergius called the leaf, mundans, pellens, el diuretica. Black Currant jelly should not be made with too much sugar, else its medicinal virtues will be impaired.
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A teaspoonful of this jelly may be given three or four times in the day to a child with thrush. In Russia the leaves of the black Currant are employed to fabricate brandy made with a coarse spirit. These leaves and the fruit are often combined by our herbalists with the seeds of the wild carrot for stimulating the kidneys in passive dropsy.
A medicinal wine is also brewed from the fruit together with honey. In this country we use a decoction of the leaf, or of the bark as a gargle. In Siberia black Currants grow as large as hazel nuts. Both the black and the red Currants afford a pleasant home-made wine. Ex eo optimum vinvm fieri poteH non detenus vinis vetioiibus viteis, wrote Haller in White Currants, however, yield the best wine, and this may be improved by keeping, even for twenty years.
The leaves are acrid and pungent, being ungrateful to cattle, and even rejected by geese. For preventing, or aborting these same distressing formations when they begin to occur spontaneously, the tincture of Daisies should be taken in doses of five drops three times a day in water. The flowers and leaves are found to afford a consider- able quantity of oil and of ammoniacal salts. The root was named Consolida minima by the older physicians. Fabricius speaks of its efficacy in curing wounds and contusions. A decoction of the leaves and flowers was given internally, and the bruised herb blended with lard was applied outside.
Being a diminutive plant with roots to correspond, the Daisy, on the doctrine of signatures, was formerly thought to arrest the bodily growth if taken with this view. Therefore its roots boiled in broth were given to young puppies so as to keep them of a small size. Margaret of Cortona. Therefore they were reputed good for the special illnesses of females. It is remarkable there is no Greek word for this plant, or flower. Boiled with some of the leaves and stalks they form, if sweetened with honey, or barley sugar, an excellent posset drink for the same purpose.
In America the root is employed suc- cessfully for checking the night sweats of pulmonary consumption, a fluid extract thereof being made for this object. The Moon Daisy is named Maudlin-wort from St. Mary Magdalene, and bears its lunar name from the Grecian goddess of the moon, Artemis, who particularly governed the female health.
They are to be distinguished from the numerous hawkweeds, by having the outermost leaves of their outer cup bent downwards whilst the stalk is coloured and shining. The plant leaves have gagged edges which resemble the angular jaw of a lion fully supplied with teeth ; or, some writers say, the herb has been named from the heraldic lion which is vividly yellow, with teeth of gold — in fact, a dandy lion! In some of our provinces the herb is known as Swinesnout ; whilst again in Devon and Cornwall it is called the Dashelflower.
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Botanically it belongs to the composite order, and is named Taraxacum Leontodon, or eatable, and lion-toothed. This latter vdien Latinised is dens leonis, and in French dent de lion. The Dandelion, which is a wild sort of succory, w r as known to Arabian physicians, since Avicenna of the eleventh century mentions it as taraxacon.
It is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North America; possessing a root which abounds with milky juice, and which varies in character according to the season in which the plant is gathered. During the winter the sap is thick, sw'eet, and albuminous ; but in summer time it is bitter, and acrid.
Frost causes the bitterness to diminish, and sweetness to take its place ; but after the frost this bitterness returns, and is intensified. The root is at its best for yielding juice about November. Probably this reputed virtue was assigned at first to the plant largely on the doctrine of signatures, because of its bright yellow flowers of a bilious hue. But skilled medical provers who have experimentally tested the toxical effects of the Dandelion plant have found it to produce, when taken in excess, troublesome indigestion, characterised by a tongue coated with a white skin which peels off in patches, leaving a raw surface, whilst the kidneys become unusually active, with profuse night sweats, and an itching nettle rash.
For these several symptoms when occurring of themselves, a combination of the decoction, and the medicinal tincture will be invariably curative. To make a decoction of the root, one part of this dried and sliced should be gently boiled for fifteen minutes in twenty parts of water, and strained off when cool. It may be sweetened with brown sugar, or honey, if impalatable when taken alone, several teacupfuls being given during the day.
The tops of the roots dug out of the ground, with the tufts of the leaves remaining thereon and blanched by being covered in the earth as they grow, if gathered in the spring, are justly esteemed as an excellent vernal salad. Bergius says he has seen intractable cases of liver congestion cured, after many other remedies had failed, by the patients taking daily for some months, a broth made from Dandelion roots stewed in boiling water, with leaves of Sorrel, and the yelk of an egg ; though he adds they took at the same time cream of tartar to keep their bodies open.
Paris tells us a special oil is to be extracted from the yelks only of hard boiled eggs, roasted in pieces in a frying pan until the oil begins to exude, and then pressed hard. Fifty eggs well fried will yield about five ounces of this oil, which is acrid, and so enduringly liquid that watch makers use it for lubricating the axles and pivots of their most delicate wheels. Old eggs furnish the oil most abundantly, and it certainly serves as a very useful medicine for an obstructed liver. The medicinal tincture of Dandelion is made from the entire plant, gathered in summer, employing proof spirit which dissolves also the resinous parts not soluble in water.
From ten to fifteen drops of this tincture may be taken with a spoonful of water three times in the day. Of the freshly prepared juice, which should not be kept long as it quickly ferments, from two to three tea- spoonfuls are a proper dose. Because of its tendency to provoke involuntary urina- tion at night, the Dandelion has acquired a vulgar sug- gestive appellation which expresses this fact in most homely terms : quasi herba lediminga, et urinaria dicitur : DILL.
At Gottingen, the roots are roasted and used instead of coffee by the poorer folk ; and in Derbyshire the juice of the stalk is applied to remove warts. How full of grace! Forestus extols them for allaying sickness and hiccough. Of the distilled water sweetened, one or two teaspoonfuls may be given to an infant. The name Dill is derived from the Saxon verb dilla, to lull, because of its tranquilising properties, and its causing children to sleep. Dioscorides gave the oil got from the flowers for rheumatic pains, and sciatica ; also a carminative water distilled from the fruit, for increas- ing the milk of wet nurses, and for appeasing the windy belly-aches of babies.
He teaches that a tea- spoonful of the bruised seeds if boiled in water and taken hot with bread soaked therein, wonderfully helps such as are languishing from hardened excrements, even though they may have vomited up their fteces. The plant is largely grown in the East Indies where it is known as Soy ah. Its fruit is used for flavouring pickles, and its water is given to parturient women.
The term Dock is botanically a noun of multitude, meaning originally a bundle of hemp, and corresponding to a similar word signifying a dock. It became in early times applied to a wide-spread tribe of broad-leaved wayside weeds. Then the title got to include other broad-leaved herbs, all of the Sorrel kind, and used in pottage or in medicine.
All these resemble our garden rhubarb more or less in their general characteristics, and in possessing much tannin. The common wayside Dock Iiumex obtusifolius is the most ordinary of all the Docks, being large and spreading, and so coarse that cattle refuse to eat it. The leaves are often applied as a rustic remedy to burns and scalds, and are used for dressing blisters.
Likewise a popular cure for nettle stings is to rub them with a Dock leaf. A tea made from the root was formerly given for the cure of boils, and the plant is frequently called Butter-dock, because its leaves are put into use for wrapping up butter. Its brilliant colouring is due to varying states of its natural pigment chlorophyll , in combination with oxygen. For culinary purposes the stalk, or petiole of the broad leaf, is used.
Its chief nutrient property is glucose, which is identical with grape-sugar. The agreeable taste and odour of the plant are not brought out until the leaf stalks are cooked. The sour taste of the stalks is due to oxalic acid, or rather to the acid oxalate of potash. Sorrel Rumex acetosus acts with such a person in just the same way, because of the acid oxalate of potash which it contains. Garden Rhubarb also possesses albumen, gum, and mineral matters, with a small quantity of some volatile essence.
The proportion of nutritive substance to the water and vegetable fibre is very small. As an article of food it is objectionable for gouty persons liable to the passage of highly coloured urine, which deposits lithates and urates as crystals after it has cooled ; and this espe- cially holds good if hard water, which contains lime, is drunk at the same time. Oxalate of lime will then be formed, and will probably induce a sharp attack of kid- ney gout. The round-leaved Dock, and the sharp-pointed Dock, together with the bloody-veined Dock which is very conspicuous because of its veins and petioles abounding in a blood-coloured juice , make respectively with their astringent roots a usefnl infusion against bleedings and fluxes ; also with their leaves a decoction curative of several chronic skin diseases.
The Rumex acetosus Sour Dock, or Sorrel , though likely to disagree with gouty persons, nevertheless supplies its leaves as the chief constituent of the Soupe aux herbes, which a French lady will order for herself after a long and tiring journey. Because of their acidity, the leaves make a capital dressing with stewed lamb, veal, or sweetbread. In Ireland they are eaten with fish, and with other alka- lescent foods. For a like reason, because corrective of scrofulous deposits, Sorrel is specially beneficial towards the cure of scurvy.
Applied externally the bruised leaves will purify foul ulcers. Together with salt it gives both the name and the relish to sallets from the sapidity which renders not plants and herbs only, but men themselves, and their conversa- tions pleasant and agreeable. But of this enough, and perhaps too much! Painters of old placed it in the foreground of their pictures when representing the crucifixion. The petals are bluish coloured, veined with purple. Formerly, on account of its grateful acidity, a conserve was ordered by the London College to be made from the leaves and petals of Wood Sorrel, with sugar and orange peel, and it was called Conserva lujulcv.
From the seeds a medicinal tincture H. Reiter of Pittsburg, U. The tincture is of special curative value for treating that depressed state of the general health which is associated with milky phosphates in the urine, and much nervous debility. Eight or ten drops of the reduced tincture should be given in water three times a day. The root in decoction is an excellent remedy for other skin diseases of the scaly, itching, vesicular, pimply and ulcerative characters. This is of particular service for giving relief to an irritable tickling cough of the upper air-tubes and the throat when these passages are rough and sore, and sensitive to the cold atmosphere, with a dry cough occurring in paroxysms.
It is likewise excellent for dispelling any obstinate itching of the skin ; in which respect it was singularly beneficial against the contagious army itch which prevailed during the last American war. It acts like Sarsaparilla chiefly, for curing scrofulous skin affec- tions and glandular swellings. Ihe great Water Dock liumex hydrolapathum is of frequent growth on our river banks, bearing numerous green flowers in leafless whorls, and being identical with the famous Eerba Britamica of Pliny.
This name does not denote British origin, but is derived from three Teuton words, hit, to tighten ; tan, a tooth ; and ica, loose; thus expressing its power of bracing up loose teeth, and spongy gums. Swedish ladies employ the powdered root as a dentifrice ; and gargles prepared therefrom are excellent for sore throat and relaxed uvula. The fresh root must be used, as it quickly turns yellow, and brown in the air. The green leaves make a capital application for ulcers of the legs. They possess considerable acidity, and are laxative. Horace was aware of this fact, as we learn by his Sermonum, Libr.
Hence it is that the Elder tree may be so often seen immediately near old village houses. The botanical name of the Elder is Sambucas nigra , from sambukee, a sackbut, because the young branches, with their pith removed, were brought into requisition for making the pipes of this, and other musical instruments. Hippocrates gave the bark as a purgative ; and from his time the whole tree has possessed a medicinal celebrity, whilst its fame in the hands of the herbalist is imme- morial.
German writers have declared it contains within itself a magazine of physic, and a complete chest of medicaments. The leaves when bruised, if worn in the hat, or rubbed on the face, will prevent Hies from settling on the person. Likewise turnips, cabbages, fruit trees, or corn, if whipped with the branches, and green leaves of Elder, will gain an immunity from all depredations of blight. Chemically, the Howers contain a yellow odorous buttery oil, with tannin and malates of potash and lime, whilst the berries furnish viburnic acid.
On expression they yield a fine purple juice, which proves a useful laxative, and a resolvent in recent colds. This, when given in toxical quantities will induce profuse sweating, and will cause asthmatic symptoms to present themselves. When used in a diluted form it is highly beneficial for reliev- ing the same symptoms, if they come on as an attack of illness ; particularly for the spurious croup of children, which wakes them at night with a suffocative cough and wheezing.
A dose of four or five drops, if given at once, and perhaps repeated in fifteen minutes, will straightway prove of singular service. This has long been a popular English remedy, taken hot at bed-time, when a cold is caught.
One or two tablespoonfuls are taken with a tumblerful of very hot water. It promotes perspiration, and is demulcent to the chest. Five pounds of the fresh berries are to be used with one pound of loaf sugar, and the juice should be evaporated to the thickness of honey. Also a capital wine, which may well pass for Fron- tignac, is commonly made from the fresh berries, with raisins, sugar, and spices. The spring- buds are excellently wholesome in pottage ; and small ale, in which elder dowers have been infused, are esteemed by many so salubrious, that this is to be had in most of the eating houses about our town.
The Romans made use of the black elder juice as a hair dye. From the dowers a fragrant water is now distilled as a perfume ; and a gently stimulating oint- ment is prepared with lard for dressing burns and scalds. Another ointment, made from the green berries, with camphor and lard, is ordered by the London College as curative of piles. This hath not yet failed at the first dressing to cure the disease, but if the patient lie dressed twice, it must needs cure them if the first fail.
It is now called Bourtree in Scotland. The green leaves, if warmed between two tiles, and applied to the forehead, will relieve headache. This is the tree, upon which the legend represents d udas as having hanged himself, or of which the cross was made at the crucifixion. It gives off an unpleasant soporific smell, which is said to prove harm- ful to those that sleep under its shade. Our summer is not here until the Elder is fully in flower, and it ends when the berries are ripe. Sheep suffering from the foot-rot, if able to get at the bark and young shoots of an Elder tree, will thereby cure themselves of this affection.
The great Boerhaave always took off his hat when passing an elder bush. It possesses a smell which is less aromatic than that of the true Elder, and it seldom brings its fruit to ripeness. A rob made therefrom is actively purgative ; one tablespoonful for a dose. The root, which has a nauseous bitter taste, was formerly used in dropsies. A decoction made from it, as well as from the inner bark purges, and promotes free urination.
The leaves made into a poultice will resolve swellings, and relieve contusions. The odour of the green leaves will drive away mice from granaries. Campania is the original source of the plant, which is called also Elf-wort, and Elf-dock. Its botanical title is Helenium inula, to commemorate Helen of Troy, from whose tears the herb was thought to have sprung, or whose hands were full of the leaves when Paris carried her off from Menelaus. Though found wild only seldom, and as a local production in our copses and meadows, it is cultivated in our gardens as a medicinal and culinary herb.
The name inula is only a corruption of the Greek elenium ; and the herb is of ancient repute, having been described by Dioscorides. Some fifty years ago the candy was sold commonly in London, being composed largely of sugar and coloured with cochineal. A piece was eaten each night and morning for asthmatical complaints, whilst it w'as customary when travelling by a river to suck a bit of the root against poisonous exhalations and bad air. The candy may be still had from our confectioners, but now containing no more of the plant Elecampane, than there is of barley in barley sugar.
It voids out thick clammy humors, which stick in the chest and lungs. Inulin is allied to starch, and its crystallized camphor is separable into true helenin and alantin camphor. The former is a powerful antiseptic to arrest putrefaction. In Spain it is much used as a surgical dressing, and is said to be more destructive than any other agent to the bacillus of cholera. It is very useful in fetid ulceration inside the nostrils ; as likewise in chronic bronchitis, to diminish expectoration.
Also, Elecampane counteracts the acidity of gouty indigestion, and regulates the monthly illnesses of women. The French use it in the distillation of absinthe, and term it Vaulnee, run lieu pluntd d'aulnes on elle se plait. To make a decoction, half-an ounce of the root should be gently boiled for ten minutes in a pint of water, and then allowed to cool. From one to two ounces of this may be taken three times in the day. Of the powdered root, from half to one teaspoonful may be given for a dose.
Moreover, at the present time, when there is so much talk about the inoculative treatment of pulmonary consumption by the cultivated virus of its special microbe, it is highly interesting to know that the helenine of Elecampane is said to be peculiarly destruc- tive to the bacillus of tubercular disease. Found in abundance in summer time on our heaths, and on mountains near the sea, this delicate little plant, the Euphrasia officinalis, has been famous from earliest times for restoring and preserving the eyesight.
The Greeks named the herb originally from the linnet, which first made use of the leaf for clearing its vision, and which passed on the knowledge to mankind. The same Greek word signifies joy and gladness. The elegant little herb grows from two to six inches high, with deeply-cut leaves, and numerous white or purplish tiny flowers variegated with yellow. It belongs to the order of scrofula-curing plants ; and, as proved by positive experiment H. It acts specifi- cally on the mucous lining of the eyes and nose, and the uppermost throat to the top of the windpipe, causing, when given so largely as to he injurious, a profuse secretion from these parts ; and, if given of reduced strength, it cures the same troublesome symptoms when due to catarrh.
An attack of cold in the head, with profuse running from the eyes and nose, may be aborted straightway ,j y a dose of the infusion made with an ounce of the herb to a pint of boiling water every two hours ; as, likewise, for hay fever. Thirtv drops of the tincture should be mixed with a wineglassful of rosewater for making this lotion, which may be used several times in the day.
A hat precise chemical constituents occur in the Eyebright beyond tannin, mannite, and glucose, are not yet recorded. In Iceland its expressed juice is put into lequisition for most ailments of the eyes. Likewise, in Scotland, the Highlanders infuse the herb in milk, and employ this for bathing weak or inflamed eyes. In I ranee, the plant is named Corse lunettes; and in Ger- many, Angen trod. It now makes an ingredient in British herbal tobacco, Avhich is smoked most usefully for chronic bronchial colds. Grandmother Cooper, a gipsy of note for skill in healing, practised the cure of inflamed and scrofulous eyes, by anointing them with clay, rubbed up with her spittle, which proved highly successful.
Outside was applied a piece of rag kept wet with water, in which a cabbage had been boiled. We all know the pleasant taste of the herb Fennel, put into sauce, and eaten with boiled mackerel. This culinary condiment is made with Sweet Fennel, culti- vated in our kitchen gardens, and which is a variety of the wild Fennel growing commonly in England as the Finkel, especially on chalky cliffs near the sea. The whole plant has a warm aromatic taste, and the old Greeks esteemed it highly for pro- moting the secretion of milk in nursing mothers. Macer alleged that the use of Fennel was first taught to man by serpents.
Jilly Cooper. Riders
Chemically, the cultivated Fennel plant furnishes a vol- atile aromatic oil, a fixed fatty principle, sugar, and some starch in the root ; also a bitter resinous extract. Also a hot infusion, made by pouring half-a-pint of boiling water on a teaspoonful of the bruised seeds will relieve belly ache in the infant, if given in teaspoonful doses sweetened with sugar, and will prove an active remedy in promoting female monthly regularity, if taken at the periodical times, in doses of a wineglassful three times in the day. A syrup prepared from the expressed juice was formerly given for chronic coughs.
The whole herb has been supposed to confer longevity, strength and cour- age. Longfellow wrote a poem about it to this effect. Only some few of our native Ferns are known to possess medicinal virtues, though they may all be happily pronounced devoid of poisonous or deleterious properties. Generically, Ferns are termed Filices, from the Latin word filum, a thread, because of their filamentary fronds. In an old charter, A. For medicinal purposes, the green part of the rhizome is kept and dried; this is then powdered, and its oleo-resin is extracted by ether.
The green fixed oil thus obtained, which is poisonous to worms, consists of the glycerides of filocylic and filo- smylic acids, with tannin, starch, gum, and sugar. For getting rid of intestinal worms in the human subject, when the vigour of the parasite has been first reduced by a low diet for a couple of days, and is lying free from alimentary matter, from thirty to ninety grains of the powdered root, or from fifteen to thirty drops of the oleo- resin, should be given as a dose whilst fasting ; a pur- gative being said to assist the action of the plant, though it is, independently, quite efficacious.
The rhizome should not be used medicinally if more than a year old. The young shoots and curled leaves of the Male Fern, which is distinguished by having one main rib, are sometimes eaten like asparagus ; whilst the fronds make an excellent litter for horses and cattle. The seed of this and some other species of Fern is so minute one frond producing more than a million as not to be visible to the naked eye. Hence, on the doctrine of signatures, the plant has been thought to confer invisibility. Thus Shakespeare says, Henry IV. It is also named botanically, Pteris aquilina, because the figure which appears in its succulent stem when cut obliquely across at the base, has been thought to resemble a spread eagle; and, therefore, Linnaeus termed the Fern Aquilina.
Again, witches are reputed to detest this Fern, because it bears on its root the Greek letter X, which is the initial of Christos. The Bracken grows almost exclusively on waste places and uncultivated ground ; or, as Horace testified in Roman days, Negledis urenda filix innascitur agris. It contains much potash ; and its ashes were formerly employed in the manufacture of soap. The root affords much starch, and is used medicinally.
The Bracken has branched riblets, and is more viscid, mucilaginous, and diuretic, than the Male Fern.