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the Styx, the shades passed over a long plain of Asphodel*. Orpheus, in Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia's day, conjures the infernal deities

“ By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow

O'er the Elysian flowers;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,

Or amaranthine bowers."

Pope, according to a passage in Spence's Anecdotes, where he speaks of it with a disrespect hardly becoming a poet, seems to have thought it one of our commonest field-flowers.




Starwort, so named from its starry shape.-French, astére.-Italian, astero.

THE varieties of the Aster are infinite; and being very showy, of almost every colour, and the colours remarkably vivid, they make a brilliant figure in our gardens in the autumn. The most general favourite is the Chinese, or China Aster, which has larger and handsomer flowers than any of the others. There are many varieties of this species; white, blue, purple, and red; single and double of each; and another variety, variegated with blue and white.

The French call the China Aster la Reine Marguerite, which has been rendered, in English, the Queen Mar

* See St. Pierre's Harmonies de la Nature. .

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garet: may they not rather mean to call it the Queen Daisymarguerite being their name for the daisy, which this flower much resembles in form, though it is of a much larger size, and of more brilliant colours?

The Amellus, or Italian Starwort*, has a large blue and yellow flower. The leaves and stalks being rough and bitter, are not eaten by cattle; and thus remaining in the pastures after the grass has been eaten away, it makes a fine show when in full flower. This is supposed to be the Amellus of Virgil:

“ The Attic star, so named in Grecian use,
But call’d amellus by the Mantuan muse."


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“Est etiam flos in pratis, cui nomen amello

Fecere agricolæ; facilis quærentibus herba ;
Namque uno ingentem tollit de cespite silvam,
Aureus ipse; sed in foliis, quæ plurima circum
Funduntur, violæ sublucet purpura nigræ.
Sæpe Deûm nexis ornatx torquibus aræ.
Asper in ore sapor: tonsis in vallibus illum
Pastores, et curva legunt prope flumina mellæ.
Hujus odorato radices incoque baccho;
Pabulaque in foribus plenis appone canistris."


“ We also have a flower in the meadows which the country-people call amellus. The herb is very easy to be found; for the root, which consists of a great bunch of fibres, sends forth a vast number of stalks. The flower itself is of a golden colour, surrounded with a great number of leaves, which are purple, like violets. The altars of the gods are often adorned with wreaths of these flowers. It has a bitterish taste. The shepherds gather it in the open valleys, and near the winding stream of the river Mella. Boil the roots of this herb in the best flavored wine; and place baskets full of them before the door of the hive.”—MARTYN'S TRANSLATION, p. 390.

* Called in France l'ail de Christ (Christ's eye]; in Italy, amello,

] or astero affico di fior turchino.

The China Aster is an annual plant. It should be sown in March or April, and kept in a tolerably warm room until it has risen about three inches above the earth; and should then be gradually accustomed to the open air. The seed may either be sown singly, or many together, and removed into separate pots when they have grown about three inches: in the latter case, they must be placed in the shade until they have taken new root, and be gently watered every evening. According to their situation, China Asters will require water every evening, or second evening, in dry summer weather, after they are rooted; but it is necessary to give particular attention to this when they are newly planted. They will flower in August.

Most of the Asters have perennial roots and annual stalks, and may be increased by parting the roots, which should be done soon after the plant has done flowering. The Italian Starwort should not be removed oftener than every third year. The earth should be kept tolerably moist for all of them, and the taller kinds should be supported with sticks.

The African species must be raised in a hot-bed, and require protection in winter.




This tree, the leaves of which are singularly dabbled with spots, is very commonly grown in pots, as an ornament for balconies, windows, &c. and seems to have been long a favourite ; probably, in some measure, from being of a hardy constitution, always green, and requiring little


care-for it is by no means so handsome as many which are less generally regarded. It will bear the open air all the

year round: the earth should be kept tolerably moist. Some call it American Laurel.





Mountain Cowslip, French Cowslip, and Oricolo; but all these names have been superseded by Auricula, by which name it is best known in this country. The old botanical name was auricula ursi [bear's ear], from the shape of the leaves.-French, oreille d'ours.-Italian, orecchio d'orso.


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The Auricula is a native of the mountains of Switzerland, Austria, Styria, Carniola, Savoy, and Piedmont. It flowers in April and May. It is astonishing how greatly it may

be improved by cultivation. It has been affirmed that Henry Stow, of Lexden, near Colchester, a noted cultivator of these flowers, had one plant with no less than one hun dred and thirty-three blossoms upon one stem*.

The varieties are innumerable; and they are known by the name of every colour, and combination of colours. Some are named from the persons who first raised them; others by more fanciful appellations, as the Matron, the Alderman, the Fair Virgin, the Mercury, &c.

A fine Auricula should have a strong upright stem, of such a height that the flowers may be above the foliage of the plant. The foot stalks should also be strong, and

* Morant's Colchester (to which Millar refers), page 92.

proportioned in length to the size and number of the flowers, which should not be less than seven. The tube, eye, and border should be well-proportioned; that is, the diameter of the tube one-sixth, and that of the eye (including the tube) one-half the diameter of the whole flower. The circumference of the border should be a perfect circle; the anthers should be large, and fill the tube; and the tube should terminate rather above the eye, which should be very white, smooth, round, and distinct from the ground-colour. The ground-colour should be bold, rich, and regular, whether in a circle, or in bright patches: it should be distinct at the eye, and only broken at the outer part into the edging. The dark grounds are usually covered with a white powder, which seems necessary to guard the flower from the scorching heat of the sun.

Perhaps there is no flower more tenderly cherished by the cultivators than the Auricula: they wait upon and watch over it like a mother over her infant.


166 Auriculas, enrich'd With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves."



One Auriculist (for the science deserves a separate appellation) has devoted a little volume to its culture. An aspirant in this science is apt, however, to be startled on learning that the object of his adoration has a singular propensity for meat, and that a good part of its bloom is actually owing, like an alderman's, to this consumption of flesh. Juicy pieces of meat are placed about the root, so that it may in some measure be said to live on blood. This undoubtedly lessens its charms in some eyes. Its florid aspect somehow becomes unnatural; and the “ shining meal,” with which Thomson says it is “enriched," being

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