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Named from Matthias de Lobel, a Flemish botanist, physician and botanist to King James the First.—French, la cardinale.-Italian, fior cardinale; cardinalizia.
THE Cardinal-flower is a very handsome plant, the scarlet species in particular: the blue, however, is very handsome. They do not flower the first year: yet, as the offsets produced from the roots do not flower so strongly as seedling plants, it is better to sow them. This should be done in the autumn. They may at first be sown several together: the pots in which they are sown should stand abroad in mild weather, but under cover in frost or heavy rain. In spring the plants will appear. They may then remain abroad altogether, and must be kept always rather moist. When big enough to remove, they may be replanted separately into small pots; or, if preferred, may be so sown at first. They should be placed where they may enjoy the morning sun, and there remain till autumn: they must then be taken into the house, but stand near an open window in mild weather. If in the course of the summer the roots should fill the pots, the plants must be removed into larger ones. The following spring they must be potted in fresh earth, and again placed abroad. They will flower in August; and, if not exposed to the mid-day sun, will continue long in beauty. The roots will last two or three years. They are likewise increased by their offsets, and by cuttings of the stalks, like rockets ; but no other way is so good as sowing them.
French, le cornillet; attrape mouche (catch fly.] This plant is covered with a glutinous moisture, from which flies, happening to light upon it, cannot disengage themselves. This circumstance has obtained it the name of Catchfly; to which Gerarde adds the name of Limewort.
If the seeds are sown in the autumn, separately, in pots about six inches in diameter, and in a dry soil, they will grow without further attention. They will bear the open air; and, unless in very dry weather, will not need watering. These directions will serve for nearly all the kinds, of which there are upwards of sixty. There are, however, two exceptions: the Dark-flowered and the Waved-leaved species, which require a stove.
The name of this plant is derived from the Greek, and signifies a swallow. It is not so named, as some have supposed, from its coming and going with the swallow; but, according to Gerarde, from an opinion which prevailed among the country-people, that the old swallows used it to restore sight to their young when their eyes were out. For the same reason it is also called Swallowwort.
The Sea Celandine, or Yellow Horned Poppy (called also Bruisewort), is a flower common to every part of Europe, growing on sandy soils, chiefly by the sea-shore. The flowers fall the second day after they are blown; but they are large, form a fine contrast with the seagreen colour of the leaves, and follow each other in such quick succession and abundance almost all the summer, as to make it a valuable plant. It begins to flower in June. It is a perennial flower. The whole plant abounds with a poisonous juice, which is said to occasion madness.
The Red and the Violet Celandines, or Horned Poppies, are common in Europe, growing in the same sandy soil as the former. These flower in July and August.
The Great, or Major Celandine, is common in hedges, and other shady places; on rubbish, rocks, or old walls*. It bears a bright yellow flower, and continues in blossom from the beginning of May till the end of July.
The juice of this plant is acrimonious: it is said to cure ring-worms, and, when diluted with milk, to consume white opaque spots in the eyes. It is also thought efficacious in the cure of warts and cutaneous disorders. The root is esteemed by the natives of Cochin-China for a variety of medicinal purposes.
This species preserves its green leaves all the year, and they are remarkably handsome ; being large, elegantly shaped, and of a transparency which shows the delicacy of their texture, as the yellow light shines through them. The double-flowered variety is chiefly cultivated in gardens: it is increased by parting the roots in autumn.
The usual mode of sowing these plants is to scatter the seeds about in rock-work, where they will come up without further trouble. If sown in pots, the best time for
is in September: one seed in each pot. They should stand in the open air, and they require watering only in very dry weather: the last-mentioned species loves the shade.
* This is the proper swallow wort; and called, in French, l'eclaire, la grande eclaire, le felongéne, l'herbe de l'hirondelle (swallow's herb:] in Italian, favagella, cerigogna.
The Small Celandine, or Pilewort, is not usually admitted into gardens; but, on the contrary, on account of the injury it does to every thing growing near it, is carefully rooted out wherever it appears. It is a species of ranunculus, called the ranunculus ficaria, from the shape of the root, which resembles that of the fig; and belongs to the natural family of the Ranunculaceæ.
In early spring, there is scarcely a grove, thicket, meadow, hedge, orchard, or plantation of any kind, that is not covered with the glossy golden flowers of the Small Celandine. When they have been exposed for some days to the heat of the sun, they turn white, and fall off: they are succeeded by small bulbs, like grains of wheat, which shoot from the bosom of the leaves; and as the stalks lie upon the ground, these little bulbs get into the earth, and become the roots of new plants. The stalks being sometimes washed bare by the rains, have induced the ignorant and superstitious to believe that it rained wheat. The young leaves are eaten by the common people of Sweden, boiled as greens.
At night, and in wet weather, the flowers close, which helps to preserve them from the cold that otherwise might be hurtful to them, from their flowering so early in the spring. They first appear in February, and continue through March, and a great part of April. It seems, the
, early flowering of this plant has helped to recommend it to the notice of Mr. Wordsworth, by whom it has been highly and repeatedly celebrated :
“ Pansies, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;