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THE Clethra Arborea, or Tree Clethra, will require shelter from the winter cold, in our climate : it should be housed about the middle or end of September, according as the weather is more or less mild; and, during this season, should be watered about twice a week; in the summer, when the weather is dry, it should be watered once in a day, or in two days, in proportion to the heat of the sun, or the plant's exposure to it. The earth should not be suffered to become parched. It is a native of Madeira.
So called from Colchis, a city of Arminia, where this plant is
supposed to have been very common. The English name of meadow saffron is from its common place of growth, and its resemblance to the crocus, or saffron flower.
The Autumnal Colchicum, or Common Meadow Saffron, is named in French, tue chien, mort au chien, both signifying dog poison; in the villages, bovet; in Italian, colchico; and has many varieties: the Yellow-flowered or Crocus Colchicum, the Purple, Red, White, Rosy, Rosyvariegated, Purple-variegated, and Double. The flowers appear in autumn, the leaves not till the following March; for which reason the country people call them Naked Ladies, an appellation bestowed upon many flowers which blow before they are in leaf.
There are several other species, requiring the same treatment as this. The roots are bulbous, and a new one is formed every year, as the old one decays. The leaves begin to wither in May, soon after which the roots should be taken out of the earth, put in a shady place to dry, wiped clean from earth, decayed fibres, &c. and put into a dry place, safe from insects, &c. until the beginning of August, when they should be planted again, about three or four inches deep, in a sandy soil.
The pot should be about six inches wide and nine deep. Water should be given in small quantities, and if the pot be placed in the shade, exposed to the dews and light summer showers, it need not be watered at all, until after the plant has begun to shoot above the earth.
It injures the root of the Colchicum to pluck the flower when newly blown, as it deprives the new root which is forming of a part of its nourishment. It will likewise be improper to delay planting the roots after the beginning of August, as they will otherwise vegetate, and produce their flowers without planting, which will greatly weaken them.
Cock’s-foot or culverwort.- The botanical name for this plant, Aquilegia or Aquilina, is derived from aquila, an eagle, from a notion that the nectaries resemble an eagle's claws. Our English name, columbine, is derived from the resemblance which, in a wild state, these parts bear, both in form and colour, to the head and neck of a dove, for which the Latin name is columba.-French, aiglantine, la colombine, la galantine; gands de notre dame four-lady's gloves].-Italian, achellea, colombina, perfetto amore (true love), celidona maggiore [great celandine); at Venice, galeti.
The Common Columbine is generally, in its wild state, of a blue colour, whence it is named the Blue Starry, but in the neighbourhood of Berne, and in Norfolk, it has
been found both with red and white flowers. It is common in woods, hedges, and bushes, in most parts of Europe. They are greatly changed by culture; become double in various ways; and are of almost all colours; blue, white, red, purple ; flesh, ash, and chestnut coloured ; blue and white, and red and white. It is a perennial plant, and, with us, flowers in June.
Every part of this plant has been considered as a useful medicine, but Linnæus affirms that, from his own knowledge, children have lost their lives by an over dose of it. That might, however, be the case with some of our best medicines.
The Alpine Columbine has blue flowers tipped with a yellowish green, blowing in May and June. (Biennial).
The Canadian Columbine flowers in April: the flowers are yellow on the in, red on the outside. (Perennial).
The Columbines may be increased by parting the roots; but, as they are apt to degenerate, are most commonly raised from seed : these will not grow to flower till the second year; and, as you cannot be sure of the kinds they will produce, it is better to procure the plants from a nursery. They should have a little water, two or three times a week, in dry weather; and may remain in the open air. .
Gawin Douglas speaks of the Columbine as black, from the deep purple which some of them take:
“ Floure-damas, and columbe blak and blew." This has been differently expressed in Mr. Fawkes's modernized version; and not happily, for the Columbine drops its head:
“And columbine advanced his purple head.”
W. Browne speaks of it in all its colours :
“ So did the maidens, with their various flowers
Decke up their windowes, and make neat their bowers ;
Using such cunning, as they did dispose
Could not the manner of their mixtures spye.” He tells us that the King-cup is an emblem of jealousy; that
- The columbine in tawny often taken,
Is then ascribed to such as are forsaken;
the meades.” A preparation from the Columbine has been administered to children, in the same manner as the Syrup of Poppies; and Linnæus says he has seen them die in consequence.
Usually called Scarlet bladder-senna. This shrub is a native of the Cape: the flowers are of a fine scarlet, and, intermingled with its silvery leaves, are very handsome. If the plant is treated hardily, it seldom lives more than two years; but it is much handsomer and fuller of flower while it does last than such as are treated in a more tender manner. The best way to manage it, is to let it remain abroad altogether, till the middle, or, if tolerably mild, till the end of October. It should then be housed at night, but placed near to an open window, and put abroad, in as warm a situation as can be chosen for it, in the day-time, whenever the weather is not frosty. On frosty days it should remain in its night's lodging. When the frosts are securely over, it may be again left altogether in its out-door station. The flowers appear in June. The earth should be kept moderately moist.
Commonly known, when wild, by the name of bind-weed, from some of the species twining their stem round other bodies, which is also the signification of the Latin name.
French, le liseron.-- Italian, il villuchio.
This is a most extensive genus : Martyn's edition of Millar's Dictionary mentions 110 different species, besides a great many flowers of different genera, which are intimately connected with it.
The Common Field Bind-weed is one of the greatest pests to gardeners and farmers. It is yet worse than the Hedge Bind-weed; for that, for the sake of climbing, confines its ravages to the borders of the fields or gardens, while this wanders over the whole ground, and is with great difficulty rooted out. And yet it must be acknowledged that this little red and white flower is extremely beautiful; and, were it but a little more modest, would, doubtless, be a general favourite. As it is, it must suffer the consequence of its impertinence, not only in being avoided, but positively turned out. From the frequent occurrence of this beautiful intruder, it has acquired a multitude of names, as bell-bind, bell-wind, rope-weed, with-wind. In French, la lizeret, le liseron des champs ; in Provence, courregeolo; in Languedoc, campanette; in Lorraine, oeillet (pink]. In Italian, vilucchio, viticchio; correggiola ; campanella ; convolvolo: in the Venetian territories, broeca: in the Brescian, tirangolo.