A. R. (Arthur Reginald) Horwood.

A new British flora : British wild flowers in their natural haunts (Volume 3) online

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more divided, with an erect flowering stem, the flowers being central,
and the general shape is pyramidal, as in most plants with radical
leaves on long stalks, rounded or kidney -shaped, and more or less
leafless flowering stems. A feature of this species is the variation in
the type of the leaves at the base.


The petals are usually imperfect, and the honey-gland has no scale.
The sepals are constantly as yellow as the petals. The carpels, seated
on raised points of the receptacle, are downy. Unlike 'some other
Crowfoots the root is fibrous.

The stem is i ft. to 15 in. in height. Goldielocks flowers from
April to May, before the trees are in bud or leaf. The plant is
perennial, deciduous, and herbaceous.

The nectary assumes a great variety of forms. The corolla is
seldom regular, and some petals are usually wanting or functionless,

Photo. Messrs. Flatters & Gamett

GOLDIELOCKS (Ranunculus tmricumits, L.)

some or all being stunted, while the sepals have a bright yellow flat
portion, and partly or wholly take the place of petals. The sepals may
be fringed. The honey-glands are at the base of the modified petals.
Some petals are reduced to honey -secreting cavities, as in Winter
Aconite, and all sorts of transitions to this stage may be found.

In the more perfect petals the underside of the triangular base of
the petal has a thickened border each side, which fuses below and
forms a pit for the honey where they meet. In the more perfect petals,
too, honey is secreted by two small pits, to the right and left, on the
broader thickened margin. In very stunted petals on the inner side of
the base of the two laminae or blades two honey canals, separated by a
fold, are deeply sunk. There are two types of pollen. In some
intermediate forms no honey is secreted. Hymenoptera (Apidoi,
Formicidss), Diptera (Syrphidse, Muscidae), Thysanoptera (Thrips)
visit it.


The fruits of Goldielocks are dispersed by the wind, and the
achenes are downy and adapted for wind dispersal.

This plant is partly a humus-loving plant requiring a humus soil,
derived from ordinary humus, and grows best in peaty loam, being
found on Precambrian, Carboniferous, Triassic, and Liassic rock soils.

Peronospora ficarice is a fungus which infests this plant. It flowers
early, and no insects feed on it.

The name auricomus is from the Latin aurum, gold, and coma, hair.

Goldielocks is called Buttercup, Wood Crow-foot, Goldylocks.


7. Ranunculus auricomus, L. Leaves divided, radical leaves reni-
form, 3-7-partite, flowers yellow, petals 3-7, usually imperfect, petals
with nectary without a scale smooth, carpels downy, receptacle tuber-

Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridis, L.)

No seeds of the Green Hellebore have been found in a fossil con-
dition. It is a plant of the Warm Temperate Zone of \V. and Central
Europe, ranging from Holland southwards, but is not found in Russia.
It has been introduced into the United States of America. It is found
in South England, in S. and N. Somerset, Dorset, Hants, Sussex,
East Kent, Surrey, Essex, Herts, Bucks, Carnarvon, Flint, Gloucs,
W. Lanes, York, Durham, Northumberland, and Westmorland. Else-
where it is regarded as only introduced. It is often naturalized.
Watson calls it a denizen.

The Bear's Foot or Green Hellebore is a woodland plant, being
fond of copses of hazel, and other types of thicket in the south and
east of England, chiefly on chalk soil, which it prefers. It is largely a
xerophile, though it may be found on humus within the chalk areas.
Its associates are the Wood Spurge, Herb Paris, Melic Grass, amongst
common plants. Doubtless its reputed use (vide below) has been
responsible for its introduction in other southern, eastern, or midland

Except that the stem is purple and usually single, or divided into
two nearly to the base, this plant has much the habit of Marsh Mari-
gold. It stands erect, and with spreading divisions of the leaves,
which spring from a foot-stalk directly, and with the sheathing bases
of its stalkless stem-leaves it looks palm-like when not in flower.

The leaves are hard and leathery, finger-shaped or nearly stalkless,
and with lobes radiating from the centre on the stem.

The calyx is spreading, and the 5 green sepals are oblong, longer

It flowers from March to


than the S-io petals, which are tubular and bilobed, and are shorter
than the stamens, which are numerous, curved, and veined one side.
The leaves also have prominent veins below. The honey-glands are
half as long as the stamens. The few fruits are i -celled fruits with
many seeds, with an erect style.

The plant grows to a height of 2 ft.
April and is perennial and deciduous.

The stigma is ripe first.
The petals are minute but
secrete honey. The 3-4
yellowish - green flowers
open widely, and there is
abundant honey, but the
inconspicuous character of
the flower causes it to be
less visited than would be
expected. Owing to the
pendulous nature of the
flower it is protected from
the rain and from some
classes of insects. The
styles turn outwards and
then are just beneath
the nectar-bearing petals.
Afterwards they turn up-
wards. By this time the
anthers are ripe and take
their place. The flower is
visited by bees and humble

Hellebore is aided in dispersal by the wind. The follicle which
opens above contains many seeds, which are blown out of the ripe
fruit by the wind.

This plant is more or less a lime-lover, frequenting chalk or lime-
stone districts, but is also fond of humus, requiring the humus soil of a
woodland habitat in which there is also a lime soil mixed.

A fungus, Phyllosticta helleborella, is parasitic upon this plant,
and on the Continent Phytomyza hellebori attacks it.

The generic name is the Latinized form of the Greek name,
while viridis is the Latin for green.

The English names for this plant are: Bear's-foot, Boar's Foot,

GREKN HKI.LKBORE (Helleborus viridis, L.)


Fellon-grass, Green Hellebore, Bastard Hellebore, Peg-roots, Setter-

It was said to guard the home from ill, and to be a powerful anti-
dote against madness. Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, says:

" Borage and hellebore fill two scenes,
Sovereign plants to purge the veins
Of melancholy, and cheer the heart
Of those black fumes, which make it smart.
To clear the brain of misty fogs,
Which dull one's senses and soul clogs,
The best medicine that e'er God made
For this malady, if well assay'd."

Floors were strewn with it formerly, but instead of being beneficial
it only introduced evil odours into the house. The plant has been
used as a cure for worms since Hippocrates' time (fourth century).
It was retained in the British Pharmacopoeia up till 1851, but is now
discarded. It was used in the same way as Black Hellebore, but in
any form is very dangerous.


12. Helleborus viridis, L. Stem few-flowered, leaves digitate or
pedate, veins below prominent, cauline leaves sessile, sepals petaloid,
spreading, yellowish -green, petals small, shorter than the stamens,

Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris, L.)

This beautiful plant has not been found in any early deposits. It
ranges throughout the Northern Warm Temperate Zone in Europe,
Morocco, the Canaries, Siberia, and Asia as far as the west part of
the Himalayas. It is absent from Hunts, Brecon, Radnor, Mont-
gomery, S. Lines, S.E. Yorks. In Scotland it is found in Dumfries
and Kirkcudbright, doubtfully elsewhere. In Yorkshire it is found at
1000 ft, and is common to the N.E. and W. of Ireland.

The Wild Columbine is one of those plants which, though con-
spicuous enough, elude the grasp of all but the more diligent botanists
and plant-hunters. Such plants, when discovered, serve to mark a red-
letter day in the annals of the collector. It is fond of rocky knolls in
woods, where it secures shelter from heat and wind. Nestled amid
such fastnesses on a small scale it presents one of the most pleasing
pictures in a woodland scene, standing erect and graceful in a natural
clearing in the oakwood amid wide patches of bracken or the bluebell,
relieved by graceful hanging panicles of Millet Grass.


Accustomed as we are to this plant in the garden we know its tall,
graceful habit, with large, drooping, blue flowers in a raceme or group,
and leafy stem below. In habit it resembles Meadow Rue, but differs
from it and all other flowers of the Buttercup group in many particulars.

The inbent hollow bottom of the petal in the corolla gave it the
name Aquilegia, in allusion to the incurved talons of an eagle's claws.
Columbine, again, refers to the flower's shape, like a dove's nest. The
flat part of the petal of the flower is blunt and shorter than the
stamens. The five sepals are petaloid. There are five follicles, which
are erect, open above. The seeds are black and shining, minutely

This plant is often 2 ft. high or even 3 ft. It is in flower from
May to July and is perennial.

The five petals are large and conspicuous, each one hollowed
from the claw upwards, to form a hollow spur or horn-shaped cavity,
15-22 mm. long, with a cup-like mouth, admitting a humble bee's
head, and the narrow tubular part is curved inwards and downwards
above, containing the honey secreted by a fleshy thickening in the
spur. Bees with a long proboscis hold on to the flower below,
clutching hold of the base of the spur with their fore legs, and with
their mid and hind legs they clasp the stamens and pistil, which project
obliquely downwards in the middle. They introduce the head into
the aperture of the spur where the outer wall touches the end of
the proboscis following the curve of the spur. In younger flowers the
hind part of the bee's body touches the anthers, closely surrounding
the carpels covered outside with pollen, and in older flowers the
same parts touch the carpels which have become elongate, and spread
the stigmas farther apart. So cross-pollination follows.

The visitors are Bombus hortorum, B. terrestris, B. agrorum,
Ilalictns. B. terrestris cannot reach the honey and bites a hole at
the base of the spur in order to obtain it. Holes may frequently be
seen and are due to this cause.

The Columbine is adapted to wind dispersal, the numerous seeds
being shaken out of the follicle, open above, when the latter is ripe.

It is a rock plant, choosing a rock soil, which may be granitic,
schistose, or even a sand rock with some humus.

slicidium aquilegia is a cluster- cup fungus which lives on this
plant. The moths, Gray Chi, Polia chi, Anistoma 2ilmaria, Small
Ranunculus, Hecatera dysodea, Pterophorus cosmodactylus, the Homop-
teron, Hyalopteris trirhoda, and the fly, Phytomyza aquilegia, fre-
quent it.


Columbine is from the Latin columba, pigeon, in allusion to the
shape of the flower. Aquilegia, a name given by Tragus, is from
aquila, an eagle, the spur of the corolla being like an eagle's claw.
Vulgaris means common, though it is rather rare. Its English names
are Blue Starry, Boots -and -shoes, Capon's -feather, Capon's-tail,
Cock's -foot, Colourbine, Cullavine, Culverkeys, Culverwort, Curran-
bine, Doves-foot, Granny's Night-cap, Hawk's-feet, Hen and
Chickens, Lady's Shoes,
Lady's Slippers, Snapdragon,
Sowdwort, Two Faces under
a Hat.

Culverkeys is given in
allusion to the shape, like a
door or culver, culver being
cohtmbe, and the little flowerets
little keys (compare also Cul-
verwort). It was once known
as Herba leonis, and believed
to be the lion's favourite plant.

In the fourteenth century
it was recommended as a
remedy for quinsy. Then a
tincture of it was employed
to strengthen the gums. The
plant has long been cultivated
in the garden, and is a de-
lightful flower.


13. Aquilegia milgaris, L. Stem with few leaves, leaf biternate,
lobed, flower blue or white, 5 sepals petaloid, spur of petal incurved
containing honey, limb shorter than stamens, capsule a follicle, hairy.

COLUMBINE (Aquilegia vnlgaris, L.)

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata, L.)

This plant has not been discovered in any ancient deposits in which
seeds of living plants are preserved. At the present day it is found in
Europe, North Africa, North and West Asia, as far as the Himalayas.
In Great Britain it is absent from Radnor, Cardigan, in S. Wales; in
N. Wales it occurs only in Carnarvon, Flint, Denbigh, and Anglesea;
in the Mersey province it is absent in Mid Lanes; and is found also in
Scotland in Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Renfrew, Peebles, Selkirk, Rox-

VOL. III. 32


burgh, Linlithgow, Mid and North Perth. In some of these it was
doubtless introduced. It is wild in the east and south of England, and
perhaps also in the east of Ireland. It occurs in the Channel Islands.

The Sweet Violet is the very breath of the woods in early spring,
and banks of violets with deep -blue flowers carpet the woods and
thickets over the greater part of the country. One may pick the
Lesser Celandine with the sweet-scented Violet growing side by side.
Besides the shaded woods the Sweet Violet lurks under hedges along
the shadier lanes or in the fields. Its existence near houses and
villages has cast doubt on its being native everywhere.

The Sweet Violet is generally social in habit, many plants being
produced around an older one yearly by the loose procumbent stems
which are put forth from the axils of the terminal rosettes, the runners
being long and creeping. It is thus a prostrate plant, which extends
itself laterally.

The habit is the loose rosette or prostrate habit. The under-
ground stems are thick, scaly, with rooting stolons. The plant does
not flower the first year. The stipules are broad, lance-shaped,
glandular, fringed with hairs, shortly pointed. The normal leaves are
shining, heart-shaped to kidney-shaped, as broad as long, smooth or
with few hairs. The aestival leaves have the lamina and leaf-stalks
slightly hairy, with depressed hairs, the lamina longer than broad, with
an open sinus. Some or no leaves persist till next spring.

The flowers are dark bluish-purple, fragrant. The flower-stalks
are hairless, the bracts usually above the middle. The sepals are oval,
blunt. The petals are egg-shaped, deep violet inside with a bluish-
white base, dark blue outside with a deep violet spur. The green
cleistogamic summer flowers are fertile, as are the spring flowers.
The capsule is round, bluntly 3-angled, downy, often purplish.

The Sweet Violet is rarely more than 6 in. high. May is the latest
month in which it flowers, beginning in March. It is perennial.

The flowers, though concealed by the leaves, are sweet-scented.
The end of the pistil which bears the stigma is not globular, but like
a bird's head, standing a little distance from the lower petal, though
close to and bent down into a hook, and fills the mouth of the flower.
The pistil is pushed up by a visitor inserting its head below the stigma.
The insect parts the ring of anthers and its proboscis is covered with
pollen. The base of the pistil secretes a fluid which moistens the
insect's proboscis, and causes the pollen, which is dry, to adhere to it.
The pollen is dry so that it may fall into the cavity, otherwise the
insect would not touch it.


The insects visiting it are Hymenoptera (Apidse), Diptera (Bomby-
lidse), Lepidoptera (Small Tortoise-shell Butterfly, Vanessa urticce,
Brimstone, Rhodocera rharm^l). To prevent rain reaching the honey
the flower is borne on a long stalk, and the pollen is by this means
allowed to fall and to be secreted between the free ends of the
stamens and the pistil, i.e. not at their base. The pollen is loose
and dry, assisting it to remain between the anthers and the pistil.
The style is thin below, for insects to bend it, and is curved. The

SWEET VIOLET (Viola odorata, L.)

Photo. J. H. Crabtree

membranous extremity of the upper anther-stalks overlaps the ends
of the two middle stigmas, so that the bee can move the pistil and
get at the pollen more easily by setting it free. There are lines on
the carpels which serve as honey-guides.

There are two kinds of flowers, one large and much visited by
insects; the other smaller ones are not so much visited, as they have
no scent or honey, and the corolla is absent or rudimentary. They are
called cleistogamic flowers, and secure pollination with little effort.
The anthers have little pollen. They are at first like ordinary buds,
the carpels occupying the middle.

The spring flowers are coloured, the others have no corolla in the


autumn and look like buds, but later appear to be capsules. These
have more numerous seeds than those of the spring flowers. They
hang down upon the ground, and when ripe the capsule bursts and the
seeds are sown around the plant in the ground. Often if the soil is
loose the capsule is buried before the seed is mature. The seeds are
dispersed by ants, the elaiosomes possessing nutritive matter, or are
jerked out by the wind. The capsule when ripe splits open.

The Sweet Violet is infested by the fungi Peronospora violtc,
Phyllosticta viohc, Ascochyta violcc (Violet leaf blotch), Cercospora violce
(Violet leaf spot), Alternaria viola (Violet spot disease), and Puccinia
violfc, Urocystis violce grow upon it. Argynnis adippe, the High Brown
Fritillary, lives on it.

Pliny gave the name Viola, Latin for Violet. . Theophrastus called
it Ion, because it was first presented to Jove by Ionic nymphs, or
because when lo was changed into a cow the earth brought forth the
Violet. The second Latin name refers to its sweet-scented character.

The Violet is called Appel-leaf, Bairnwort, Banwort, Blaver, Bessy
Ban wood, Fine-leaf, Vilip, Violet (Blue-, English-, March-, Sweet-

Shakespeare, in referring to the metempsychosis or transfer of souls
in the form of flowers, in Hamlet, makes Laertes wish violets may
spring from Ophelia's grave:

" Lay her in the earth,
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring."

This may be compared with Persius, Satires'.

" E tumulo fortunataque favilla
Nascentur violae ".

Tennyson also writes:

" And from his ashes may be made
The violet of his native land ".

To dream of the violet was said to mean advancement in life.
It was used in garlands and spring bridal bouquets in ancient

In spite of its association with early death, it is the emblem of

" Violet is for faithfulness,
Which in me shall abide,
Hoping likewise that from your heart
You will not let it hide."


The Violet was dedicated to Venus.

In Greece violets were worn in the chaplet because it was imagined
they dispelled the fumes of wine and drove away headaches. Its sweet
scent is employed in perfumery. The petals are used in syrup given
to children. It had many fanciful qualities in mediaeval times. Thus,
" stamped with water it casts out a broken bone ".

The root is emetic, being employed as a substitute for ipecacuanha.
The syrup is used by chemists as a test for acids or alkalies, being
cultivated at Stratford-on-Avon for that purpose. The Violet is
laxative. Sherbet is supposed to have violet syrup as one of its
constituents. The Koran praises it, holding it, like the Prophet high
over men, superior to all other flowers. When dried the flowers are
used in bonbons, being candied. The seeds are diuretic, and pow-
dered were used for gravel and stone.

The species is cultivated, and white and blue forms are equally
sweet-scented, while both single and double forms are produced.

This plant was used as a beautifier to render the eye lustrous,
enlarging the pupil. The Grecian women colour their eyelids blue
with it, and make a preparation of it for the eyes.

The Violet is a humus-loving plant requiring a humus soil, which
is obtained in woods and under hedge banks. It grows on a variety
of subsoils formed by different geological formations, both arenaceous
and oolitic.


42. Viola odorata, L. Stem with stoles from axils of terminal
rosettes, creeping, leaves cordate, crenate, downy, flowers blue or
white, scented, spur straight, lance-shaped sepals obtuse, bracts above
middle of peduncles.

Red Campion (Lychnis dioica, L.)

This plant has been found in Interglacial, late Glacial, Neolithic,
and lacustrine deposits. To-day it is found in the Temperate and
Arctic Zones in Arctic Europe to the Caucasus, Siberia up to Lake
Baikal, and Greenland. It is found in every part of Great Britain,
except Hunts, Stirling, Main Argyll, and Caithness.

In most of our English counties we look for the Red Campion in
early spring, with its pink blooms, springing up from the moist soil of
ditch or hedge bank. But there are in some districts wide areas where
it is entirely absent, and these same districts also lack its usual
associates elsewhere Dog's Mercury, and Lords-and- Ladies or


Cuckoo Pint. Woodlands of this common but beautiful English wild
flower, which helps with Hedge Garlic and Greater Stitchwort to
beautify also the country lanes, are a lovely sight in spring.

The Red Campion is a tall, erect plant, with several stems with
thickened joints, often bent, round, branched, the upper ones dividing.
The radical leaves are blunt above, stalked, the stem -leaves linear
lance-shaped, tapering. The whole plant is clothed with hairs. The

stems often have a purple
tinge. Numbers of plants
grow together, and a bed
of Red Campion in bloom
is a thing to be remem-
bered. The plant grows
in tufts with many leafy

The flowers grow on
dichotomous panicles,
regularly dividing into
two, and the plants are
dioecious. The petals are
divided into two nearly
to the base, with narrow,
spreading lobes. The
calyx- teeth are triangular.
The capsule is nearly
rounded, with ten teeth,
the latter bent back.
The seeds are black, and
have rows of points
arranged lengthwise.

Red Campion is often

3 ft. high. The flowers are in bloom in June and July. The plant
is perennial, and may be propagated by division.

The flowers are female or pistillate, and male or staminate, and
though flowering by day (diurnal) they have much the same character
as Lychnis alba, but are conspicuous and large, and adapted to visits
by insects with a fairly long proboscis. Red Campion is dioecious, and
the pistillate plant is more robust. A black or brown powder is pro-
duced by a fungus, Ustilago antherorum, which attacks the stamens in
this and L. alba, and the spores are dispersed like pollen by insects.
The seeds are adapted to wind dispersal. The capsule has a wide

Photo. G. B. Dixon

RED CAMPION (Lychnis dioica, L.)


mouth, and the seeds are scattered far and wide by the wind or by

The soil required is a humus soil, and it is therefore a humus-loving
plant, ranging over many different formations.

This plant is attacked by the fungus Ustilago violacea.

A beetle, Phytonomus plant aginis, Lepidoptera, such as Tawny
Sheers {Dianthcecia carpophaga), The Lychnis D. capsincola, Nemeo-
phila plantaginis, Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata), Rivulet
(Emmelesia affinitata), Sandy Carpet (E. decolor at a), Gelechia vis-
cariella, Lygris flavofasciata, Netted Pug (Eupithecia venosata), feed
on it.

The second name, dioica, refers to the dicecious habit.

Red Campion is called Adder's-flower, Bachelor's Buttons, Billy
Buttons, Bird's-eye, Brassety Buttons, Brid-een, Bull's Eye, Cock-
robin, Crows-ope, Devil's Flower, Flea-bites, Geuky Flower, Gramfer-
Greygles, Hare's Eye, Lousy Beds, Mother- Dee, Plum-puddings,
Ragged Robin, Red Butcher, Red Lack, Red Robin, Robin-in-the-
hose, Robin-i'-the-hedge, Round Robin, Scalded Apple.

As to the name Bachelor's Buttons, Johnson says: "The similitude
that these flowers have to the jagged cloath buttons anciently worne in
this kingdome gave occasion to our Gentlewomen and other lovers of
flowers in those times to call them Batchelor's Buttons". Another
name Lousy Soldier's Buttons refers to the dislike to gather them
when covered with small insects (Aphidse). The plant is called Dee
(or Die), and a superstition exists amongst Cumberland children to the
effect that if they pluck the flower, some misfortune will happen to
their parents. It was supposed to exert a charm over the fortunes

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