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cent substitute for foreign tea, which many persons find injurious to them; and many think its aromatic flavour very agreeable. Much of the prejudice against our native tea-plants has arisen from the tea being made of the fresh herbs, and by far too strong. If the Chinese tea were used as lavishly, it would be still more disagreeable to the taste than our native teas.
On account of its being so great a favourite with the bees, it was one of the herbs directed by the ancients to be rubbed on the hive, to render it agreeable to the swarm:
“ Intorno del bel culto e chiuso campo
Lieta fiorisca l'odorata persa,
LE API DEL RUCELLAI.
« O’er all the lawny field, lovely, shut in,
Let the glad violet smile with its sweet breath;
“Quand' escon l'api dei rinchiusi alberghi,
Posarsi al fresco sopra un verde elce,
E pero sparga quivi il buon sapore
Questo subito allor vedrai posarsi
LE API DEL RUCELLAI.
“ When the bees issue from their nestling homes,
behold them through the clear blue ether,
you will see them suddenly come down
Virgil, in one of his pastorals, which was indeed the original of the poem of Rucellai, mentions green casia, wild thyme, and savory, instead of the violet, parsley, and wild thyme. By casia, some have supposed the poet intended rosemary; but in another passage he distinguishes these two plants: and as he uses the epithet 'green,' which the ancient poets almost invariably apply to parsley, it is probable Rucellai may have considered this as the plant described by Virgil
. The frequent changes in the names of plants have occasioned much doubt and difficulty in ascertaining exactly the plants intended by old authors. Vaccinium has been translated by different writers, the privet, the hyacinth, the violet, &c.
Evelyn tells us that “this noble plant yields an incomparable wine;" and that "sprigs, fresh gathered, put into wine in the heat of summer, give it a marvellous quickness."
There is a plant called Bastard Balm, or Balm-leaved Archangel; in French, Le Melissot, or Melisse de Punaisse [Bug-balm]; of which the botanical name, Melittis, is similar in its etymology to Melissa. This, like the true Balm, yields a great deal of honey; it is described as having an unpleasant smell when fresh, but becoming delightfully fragrant when dried. It has large white and purple flowers, which are odoriferous when they first
open. This plant is very handsome, and is a common inhabitant of the flower-garden.
Both these plants may be increased by parting the roots, which may be divided into pieces, with five or six buds to éach, and planted in separate pots: this should be done in October. When intended for ornament, the roots should not be disturbed oftener than every third year. The earth should be loamy, and they should be placed in an eastern aspect, where they will thrive and produce flowers in abundance. The Melissa will flower in June or July; the Melittis, a month earlier. They may have a little water in dry weather, and stand abroad throughout the year. In autumn cut off the decayed stalks; new ones will grow in the spring.
Latin, impatiens.-Italian, balsamina; maraviglia di Francia; [the wonder of France).-In Florence, begl'uomini; bell' uomo [fine man).- French, balsamine, or belsamine. The Yellow Balsam is also called noli-me-tangere [touch me not] ; quick-in-hand and wild mercury.-French, la balsamine des bois (Balsam of the woods]; la merveille; l'herbe Sainte Catharine; ne me touchez pas.--Italian, erba impaziente; balsamina gialla (Yellow Balsam].
Some of the names given to this plant refer to the violence with which the ripe seeds dart from the seedvessel when touched.
In the day-time the leaves of this plant are expanded, but at night are pendent; contrary to the habit of plants in general, which are more apt to droop during the heat of the day. This plant grows in England and many other parts of Europe, and in Canada: it is the only species of Impatiens which grows wild in Europe.
The Garden Balsam, which, as its name implies, is the most commonly cultivated in our gardens, is a native of the East and West Indies, China, and Japan. The Japanese use the juice prepared with alum to dye their nails red. This beautiful flower has been much enlarged, and numerous varieties have been produced, by culture. Mr. Martyn, in his edition of Millar's Dictionary, speaks of having seen one,
" the stem of which was seven inches in circumference, and all the parts large in proportion; branched from top to bottom, loaded with its partycoloured flowers, and thus forming a most beautiful bush.
There are white, purple, and red; striped and variegated, single and double, of each. Millar mentions two remarkable varieties:—the Immortal Eagle, a beautiful plant with an abundance of large double scarlet and white, or purple and white flowers ;-and the Cockspur, of which the flowers are single, but as large as those of the former species; with red and white stripes. This is apt to grow' to a considerable size before it flowers; so that in bad seasons it will bear but few blossoms.
In Ceylon and Cochin-China, there is a species of Balsam, from the leaves of which the inhabitants of CochinChina make a decoction to wash and scent their hair.
The flowers of the Balsam will be handsomer if the plant be raised in a hot-bed: in May, if the weather be mild, it may be gradually accustomed to the open air. It must be watered every evening, but gently; and being a
succulent plant, great care must be taken not to let water drip on it, nor to sprinkle it on the leaves or flowers. It loves the shade, and will thrive the better if shaded from the mid-day sun by the intervention of some light shrub, as the Persian lilac, &c. The Balsam is a general favourite for the number and beauty of the flowers, their sweetness, and the uprightness and transparency of its stem:
“ Balsam, with its shaft of amber," says the poet, and the propriety of the expression has been questioned; but the introduction of a Balsam in the sunshine, not only fully justified its propriety, but excited surprise in those who had questioned it, at their own want of observation.
Basil is from a Greek word, signifying royal. It is generally called sweet basil.-French, basilic; la plante royale-Italian, basilico; ozzimo.--Ocymum is from a Greek word signifying swift, because the seed when sown comes up very quickly.
Basils are either herbs, or undershrubs, generally of a sweet and powerful scent: they are chiefly natives of the East Indies, and in this climate require protection from frost. They are raised in a hot-bed, but should have as much air as possible in mild weather. They may stand abroad from May to the end of September, or of October, according as the weather is more or less mild at this season. They should be kept moderately moist.
Many of the Basils will not live in this country, unless in a hot-house, but there are many that will, and among