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A flora of Leicestershire online

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Rose delii^t of liigber powers,
Rose the joy of mortal men,
Rose the pleasure of fine women.
Rose the Graces' ornament,
Rose Dione's sweet content"

Ro9atxiB, from rho9, red, Celtic.

The dried leares of the sloe are frequently mixed with tea, the
fruit is employed to adulterate port wine, the unripe juice is used
in Germany as marking ink. Prussic acid is found hoth in leaves
and blossoms. The fine purple bloom on the ripe sloe, like that
on the damascene and plum, is a peculiar exudation of resin. At
Clevedon in the Bristol Channel, where the blackthorn is found
almost within reach of the tide, it assumes a very recumbent and
singularly spiny figure.* Prumu avium is called hag-berry in
Scotland, where, as well as in Siberia, it takes the form of a creep-
ing plant. A medicinal decoction is made of its bark in Finland.
The double-blossomed cherry of plantations is a variety having the
styles changed into petals. Prunus prostrata, an alpine cherry, is
found trailing on the summits of Mounts Pindus and Athos in
Greece. P. virginiana, (America,) is an evergreen. Maraschino
is the distilled spirit of a Dalmatian species. The Kirshenwasser
of the Black Forest is obtained in a similar way. Cherrytree-gum
is an artide of commerce; cherry and plum woods are esteemed
in ornamental joinery. It is not known whether the cherry is indi-
genous, or, as some say, brought hither from Rome.

The meadow-sweiets were formerly much in request for gar-
lands. Spir^Ba tomentosa, found in the United States, has purple
flowers and a stem so hard as to blunt the edge of the scythe, — ^it
is commonly called '^ hard-hack." S. JUipendula has tuberous
balls at the end of its long fibrous roots, which serve as sponges
to retain moisture for the use of the plant.

Gemm urbanum, infused into spring ale, is said to prevent its
turning sour. G, rivale is used freely in the United States by the
name of ' Indian chocolate.' Both have been compared to CAttt-

♦As there were no leaves when the writer saw these trees, it would be esteemed
a fsvoor if any resident or visiting botanist coold confirm this.

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chona for stomacbic virtues. Agrimonia eupatoria is useful in
dressing leather and in dying yellow. The poteniUUu are also
used in tanning. The root of P. anserina, resembling a small
parsnep^ is boiled and eaten in Scotland. P. reptam was once a
febrifuge. The roots of P. fragariastrum dye red. Fragaria
monophylla, a variety of F. vewd, has but one leaf on each foot-

The raspberry derives its specific name from Mount Ida, in
Crete ; it has multiplied into a large number of trivial varieties.
The common bramble abounds at the Cape. A sweetly-scented
variety, rubua trivialia, is found in Canada, whose fruit is worth-
less; Lyell says the odour of its flowers resembles that of our
primrose. R. jamaicemis is the only spedes known in the West
Indies. In the countries farthest north, the variety and richness
of these hardy berries affords not only sweetmeats but delicious
wines. J2. arctieus is so diminutive, that in Clarke's Travels it is
said, an entire tree, branches, leaves, and firuit, was placed within
a six-ounce phial. i2.yr«ftco«t<« is sometimes called 'scald-berry,*
under an idea that its fruit causes the head to ulcerate, ''but,**
says Threlkeld, ^ I look upon this as a vulgar error, and that after
Michaelmas the devil casts his club over them, which is a frd>le:
for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."

The rose is confined to more temperate limits, and according
to the legend was at first white, until Cupid capering about amongst
the gods, upset a cup of nectar upon it and changed it to red. It
is said. Captain Parry in a transport of recognition, eat the' first
rose presented to him, on his return from the Polar Regions. The
" golden rose," consecrated every year by the Pope, and by him
piesented to some leading European prince, was supposed to repre-
sent the body of Jesus Christ. It was sent in the time of Luther
to Frederic the Wise, Elector of Saxony, who scarcely deigned to
receive it. Roses were presented to the parliament of Paris, so
lately as the middle of the seventeenth century, by an ofiScer who
was called Rosier de la Cour. He was usually a prince or nobleman,
and in April, May, and Jime, caused roses and other sweet-scented
flowers to be strewed all over the apartments of the parliament-
house. It was also his duty to provide an entertainment at which

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a noeegay of real or artificial roses was presented to each guest.
Rosa spmosissima affords all the garden varieties. 12. vilUaa is
used as an astringent medicine in North America. The leaves of
R. rubiginosa have been substituted for tea. 12. catdna yields the
hips used for conserve. ' Bedeguar/ the diseased growth caused by
the puncture of cytdps rosa, wacr formerly used as a 8t]rptic, pos-
sessing in a highly-concentrated degree the astringency of the plant
that produces it. Brainard calls the sweet-briar

"The little four-leaved rose,

That freshest will awake, and sweetest go to rest"

The toper's plants, sanguisorha officinalis and poterium sanguisorba
are used indiscriminately for infusion in liquor. They serve also
as fodder, and the roots are eaten in Siberia. Alchemilla vulgaris,*
* Our Lad3r'8 Mantie/ a genuine alchemist if its cosmetic powers
are credited, is reputed able to restore the freshness of youth to
age and decrepitude. The wood of the hawthorn is so hard as to
be employed for wedges. That of the pear is as firm as box and
almost as useful to wood engravers. Wild pear-trees lose their
thorns in a state of cultivation. Three pears are the armorial

* This dedicatory style of nomenclature, so prevalent before the Reformation,
was extended to the insect world. The litUe * Lady bird,' which entomologists
haive de-poeticised to coceinella punctata, is still * MarientDiimuehen ' in Germany.
' Wiirme * is a term of endearment applied by German mothers to their babes,
reminding one of the larva4ike ' papooses ' of the North American Indians. The
German children say—

''Marlenwiirmschen setse dich
Anf meine Hand, aof meine Hand,
Ich tha dir nichts za Leide,
Es soil dir nichts zu Leide geschehn.
Will nor deine Bunte Fliigel sehn
Bonte fliigel, meine Freude.

Marienwiirmschen fliege weg
Dein Haiischen brennt, die Kinder schrein
So s^hre, wie so sehre!
Die bose Spinne spinnt sie ein
Marienwiirmschen fleig hinein
Deine Kinder sohreien sehre." &c. &o.
F 2

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bearing of the city of Worcester, in which county perry is chiefly
manufactured. Marco Polo mentions pears of the enormous
weight of ten pounds each. The reformer Zwingle was killed
under a tree at Cappel, long known as ' Zwingle's pear-tree/ its
place is now marked by stones and an inscription. The expressed
juice of pyruM malu$ is known as verjuice ; in domestic surgery
applied to sprains and scalds. Izaak Walton conunends "a
syllabub of new verjuice." The berries of the mountain ash Gon«
tain oxalic acid, it was one of the sacred trees of the Druids, and is
the *rowan* of the north, a charm against 'the evil eye' and witch*
craft. Selby saw the berries exposed for sale in the streets of GlasgDw.
" An incomparable drink," according to Evelyn, is made from them
in Wales. Thrushes devour them greedily, and are caught in
snares so baited, on the Continent. Hence the name of ' fowler's
service tree.'

The large scaly pohfporm squamoma, and in the autumn ^^«/»iia
hepatica, are frequent on the ash. Medlars which grow abundantly
in hedge rows in the West of England have not yet been met with
in Leicestershire.

It would be improper to close this Order without remarking,
that the fruit of every plant whose stamens grow from the calyx,
may be safely eaten, even though the rest of the plant should be
unwholesome. "No traveler," says Sir J. E. Smith in his Intro-
duction to English Botany, " in the most unknown wilderness
need scruple to eat any fruit whose stamens are thus situated;
while on the other hand he will do well to be cautious of feeding
on any other parts of the plant."

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viii. I. Epilobium angustifolium. rose bay willow-herb, spinney
near the park gate, and cow pastures. Market Bos^
worth. NPS. A large bed in one of the plantations at
Gopsal bounding the park on the norih. AB.

— — E. hirsutum. hairy willow herb, common,

— — E. parviflorum. small-flowered willow-herb, common,

— — E. montanum. broad smooth-leaved willow-herb.


— — E. roseum. pale smooth-leaved willow-herb, rare : on

the railroad below Derford, AB,

— — E. palustre. narrow-leaved willow-herb, brook near

Stonygate, Leicester: Groby pool: TTiurcaston, 8fc,
not uncommon,

— — E. tetragonam. square-stalked willow-herb. Groby

pool: canal near Leicester: common in wet ditches
and ponds,
II. I. Circ^ lutetiana. enchanter's nightshade, common,

— — C. alpina. mountain enchanter's nightshade. Westcotes

plantations, CT,

OnagracetB, onagra, the ass-food.

Decoction of Epilobium angustifolium is said to intoxicate and
itupify. The Kamschatchadales mix it unth a wine they prepare
from the cow-parsnep. It is made to yield also ale and vinegar to
the same northern economy. Gloves and hose have been woven
from the silky down of its seeds. In cultivation it is patient of

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smoke and will bear the dripping of trees in shrubberies. Ciretea
lutetiana, from Lutetia, the antient name of Paris, has nothing of
the Enchantress but the' name, being as destitute of beauty, as
of decided properties. It is a common weed in gardens. The
evening primrose, (Enothera biennis, is of this order; though not
considered indigenous, it is met with apparently wild in sandy
places near livef pool, and has been gathered by the compilei' of
this list at Scarborough. The genus (Enothera is wholly American.
The roots of some (Enotheras may be eaten as olives, they were
once cultivated for that purpose. The light and'graceM ClarTdas^
and the Fuchsia, named from Fachs, (Anglice, Fox) a German
botanist, are of this order.



I. I. Hippuris vulgaris, common mare's-tail. Chrohy pool:
Staunton Harold: Market Bosworth, AB, Brook
near Shenton. NFS, Wood near Beaumanor, PCH,
Canal Aylestone, MK. Pond at Loseby haU, Dr, P.
*in the Devon, Vale of Belvoir.

xxi. VII. Myriophyllum verticillatum. whorled water milfoiL in
the SotMT, Loughborough, WBG,

— — M.spicatum. spiked water milfoil. Gro6y pool; Groce-

dieu: Saddington reservoir : in the Soar : common,
— — M. altemiflorum. pond near Twycross, AB, Moira
r§servoir, WHC.

XXI. I. Callitriche vema. vernal water starwort. common.

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XXI. I. Callitiiche platycarpa. in the Soar near Leicester Abbey,
Dr. P. Thringstone. CB.

— — C. peduncnlata.

b. sessilis. near Twycron, AB.

— — C. autumnalis. autamnal water starwort. Thringstone.

CB, Ditch near Kegworth railway station, FTM,
Soar, Abbey pastures, CT, Ditches between Leicester
and Aylestone, and in the Soar near Leicester Abbey,
XXI. VII. Ceratophyllum demersum. common homwort. ponds
and reservoirs, common.

— — C. submersum. unarmed homwort. rare : Qroby

pool. CT.

Htdoragacea, from hals, halos, the sea; rax, ragis, a grape,
marine plants of this name bearing fruit resembling grapes.

A variety of Hippwris is found in salt water in Sweden and
Rnland. Milfoil, from miUe, a thousand, and folinm, a leaf.
In shallow water M. verticiUatum is found with bracts scarcely
distinguishable frt>m the leaves, in deep water with bracts much
shorter than the leaves, when it becomes M. pectinatum of De
CandoUe; these forms run into one another. (Hbrt's Flora.)
The French call hippwris, pin aquatic, the steUata are the only other
European plants bearing leaves in the same whorled manner.
The seeds, of which only one is {nroduced in each flower, are
greedily sought by wild ducks. The infertile stem is thickly
dothed with long graceful leaves.

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XI. I. Lythrum salicaria. spiked purple loose-strife, common
by streams aitd ponds, near Leicester: Barrow:
Breedon, 8fC,

VI. I. Peplis portula. water purslane, marshy ground near
Market Bosworth : Old gravel pit near Cadehy. NPS,
Whittoick : Twycross, A B, Old stone quarry behind
the Copt Oak. FTM. Bradgate park. CT. Moira
reservoir : pond by Wilksley wood, WHC,

JjythraceiB, from lythron, gore, in allusion to the purple colour
of the flowers.

The Henna of Egypt {Lawsonia atta) is of this family, and not
only used for the toilette, but to stain the manes of horses and to
dye morocco leather. L, salicaria had a medicinal reputation.
According to Don the rosewood of commerce is produced by one
of the few timber trees contained in this genus. It is brought
from Brazil. Purslane was formerly a potherb.

In solitary groves or in choice gardens,
From the variety of curious flowers,
Contemplate nature's workmanship and wonders.


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XXI. V. Bryonia dioica. red-berried bryony, common.

CucurbitaceiB, from eucurbiia, a gourd.

Bryony roots were formerly grown into moulds rudely imitative
of the human form to simulate mandrakes. They are large,
succulent, and extremely acrid. Gerarde mentions one of half
a hundred weight, and the size of a child a year old.

Bryonia dioica is monoecious, with a five segmented calyx and
corolla : its root, like that of Tamus communis, is appUed to bruises.
It is the only British type of this deleterious family. The spirting
cucumber, momordica elaterium, has been known to cause intense
illness from being carried in the hat. The common bottle-gourd
of the East Indies (Lagenaria vulgaris) is so deadly that a party of
sailors was poisoned only by drinking beer that had stood for
some hours in one. The papaw tree has the singular property of
rendering tender the tough meat of old hogs and poultry, for
which it is commonly used in the West Indies. The passion-
flower of tropical America is supposed to represent the instruments
of our Saviour's passion.

" A man's nature rons either to herbs or weeds ; therefore let him seasonably
water the one, and destroy the other."— Bacoh.


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III. III. Montia fontana. water blinks, wet placa, Groby : Bar-
don, Beacon, Bttck, and Croft hiUs : Twycross, 8fc,

Portulacacea, from porto, to cany, and lac, milk.
The portulaeea are edible and pfiten afforded a yegetable meal
to Dr. Leichardt's ezidoring party, when otherwise reduced to
dried horse-flesh and pemmioan. Montia is named after Joseph
Monti of Bologna, 1719* A portulaca of the Cape is named, from
its supposed efficacy as a love charm, anacampaero*, from ana-
campto, to cause return, and eras, love. This species frequents
dry places.

" An eartli greater or smaller, denser or rarer tjian the one on which we live
would require a change in the stmctore and strength of the footstalks of all the
little flowers that hang their heads nnder oar hedges. There is something ourious
in thns considering the whole mass of the earth from pole to pole, and from oir-
cmnference to centre, as employed in keeping a snowdrop in the position most
suited to the promotion of its vegetable health."~WHEWBLL.

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II. Scleranthus annuus. annual knawel. common : wall of
Sheethedges wood, Groby : Croft : Gonndon, Sfc,

Illecebracea, iUecebra of Pliny, from iUicio, to allure.

Scleranthus, is named scleros, hard, and antho9, a flower, from
its hard dry calyx. Its old English name is knot-grass. In Ger-
many a decoction of it is used for toothache. The Polish cochineal
is found on the roots of 8. perennU. lUicium anitatum yields
aniseed, with which, in Sweden, bread and brandy, the two
necessaries of life, are so strongly flavoured as to be most un-
palatable to strangers. In Japan garlands of the tree are sus-
pended in temples and placed on the tombs of their friends.

" There's beauty all aiomid our path if but our watchful eyes
Will trace it in fiuniliar things, and in their lowliest guise."

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Ribes nigrum, black currant, in a hedge at Thringstone.

OB, South wood. fVHC.
R. rubrum. red currant, woods: Chamwood forest :

*plantation8 at Belvoir.
R. alpinum. tasteless mountain currant, plantations at

Gopsall, not originally wild, AB, Braunstone, Dr, E,

Thringstone. CB,
R. grossularia. gooseberry, woods: hedges near Lub-

benham, SK. Market Bosworth occasionally. NPS.

Coleorton. fVHC,

GrossulariacetB, from grossus, thick, or as some say, from grossi,
little half-xipe figs, which gooseberries resemble.

The flowering currant is a variety of R, nigrum, which is a dis-
tinct species. Its fruit is employed for preserves and to colour
spirit in imitation of brandy. White, pink, and salmon-coloured
currants are varieties of R. rubrum ; in Germany, " Johannisbeere.'*
In a wild state the fruit is small and sour, currants are found in
the plantations near Belvoir.

Besides sugar, and malic acid, gooseberries contain pectic add,
an antidote in cases of poisoning by salts of lead, copper, anti-
mony, zinc, or quicksilver. Gooseberry jam neutrahzes the poison,
which its mucilaginous nature also renders inert, until the arrival
of proper medical assistance.

Be patient, and the mulberry leaf will beoome satuu— Aaabian Pboybbb.

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X. IT. Sedum album, white stone crop. ruin$ of Ashby'de-la^

ZouchcoitU. WHC.

— — S. acre, biting gtone-crop. walU and rock$.

— — S. reflexum. crooked yellow stone-crop. waUs, common.

XI. IV. Sempervivum tectorum. hooseleek. Aoi(«e-roo/« t» the

town and cotm/ry.
X. IT. Cotyledon umbilicus, wall penn3rwort. rare: Swith-
land slate quarries. MK. 1849. CT.

Crauuiacea, from enunu, thick, in allusion to the fleshy stems
and leaves.

Hooseleeks are used to cover the bark roofs in Norway, which
they effectually defend against storms. In England they were
esteemed a preservative from lightning. S, tectorum bears upon
its anthers ovules instead of pollen, and is remarkable for the
frequent absence of medullary rays in the stem. The fr^h leaves
of S. glutinoeum are used by the fishermen of Madeira to tan their
nets. CoteUfdon umhilkus is found only in the locality mentioned
by Dr. Pulteney, 1767. The grotesque and succulent Cacti of
America are allied plants.

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X. II. Saxifraga granulata. white meadow saxifrage, comtium.

— — S. tridactylites. rue-leaved saxifrage, toalls and rocks.

— — Cluysosplenium oppositifolium. opposite-leaved golden

saxifrage, common.

— — C. altem&blium. alternate-leaved golden saxifrage.

rare : thicket near the mill, Groby, MK» Woodhoust^
and Outwoods Loughborough. Dr. P. Poqhet gai€.
V. IV. Pamassia palustris. grass of Parnassus, rare : meadow
near Grohy pool. AB. between Overseal and Nether*
seal. JM, Sutton Ambien wood: head of the lake.
Market Boeworth. NPS. *in aU the turfy poiturea
and bogs by the Devon, Ulverscroft. CL,

SaxifragacetB, from saxum, a stone, zxk^frango, to break.

Flowers mostly white and yeUow, none of a blue colour. Plants,
natives of temperate climates. . Chrysoeplenium, remarkable for the
absence of petals, is eaten as a salad in the Vosges, by the name
' Cresson de Roche.'. Heucheria Americana, used in tanning, for
its astringency is called 'alum-root.' The Hydrangea is in this


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VIII. III. Adoxa moschatelliDa. tuberous moschatell. hedge banks

and shady places : Foss lane, 8fc,
V. I. Hedera helix, ivy. common.

Araliacece, derivation unknown.

Adoxa, from a, privative, and doxa, glory, without appearance,
as its flowers are of the same colour with the leaves. Hedera
derives its specific name from its clinging like a snail to trees and
walls. Hedera, from hedra, a cord, Celtic, the French call it
Lierre. Ivy berries steeped in vinegar were swallowed as a
specific in the time of the Great Plague. The old trunks of ivy
in the south of Europe yield a sweet-scented gum. The plant is
not known in China. The New Zealand Aralia crassifolia has long
leaves in texture resembling whalebone. In the second book of
Maccabees it is mentioned amongst the outrages on the Jews that
they were compelled to wear garlands of ivy at the festival of
Bacchus. Ivy is found, semi-fossil, with larger trees. The giant
or Irish ivy, H. vegeta, is a native of Madeira. The genus 'Cus-
sonia' is named after the unfortunate Swiss botanist, who having
laboured to complete the order UmhellatiSi had all his papers wil-
fuUy burnt by his wife in his absence.

In North America there are no creeping plants that retain their
verdure in winter.



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IV. I. Coraus sanguinea. wild cornel or dogwpod. hedges.

ComacHi, from eomu, a hom» aUuding to the hardness of the
wood, (uncertain derivation.)

Lamp oil may be obtained from the seeds <^ C tan^tttfiai.
O. wedca is reputed to have tonic berries, increasing the appetite.
The Highlanders call it ' plant of gluttony/ ' Lus-a-chrasis.' Not
any of the ComaceiB are hurtful plants. From C.JIorida a peculiar
principle called comine has been procured, of similar powers to
^tfitne. The fruit of the cornels is edible^ and used to be made
into tarts, but it is too astringent to be pleasant. The berries of
C. Chilen$i8 are eaten in Chili, and the natives make a sort of drink
with them which they call Theca, C. sanguinea is a valuable shrub
in dose plantations, as it will grow under the drip of other trees.

Under the tree tops is quiet now !
In all the woodlands hearest then
Not a sonnd .'

The little birds are asleep in the trees,
Wait! wait! and soon like these
Sleepest thou !


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V. II. Hydrocotyle YDlgaris. manh pennywort. Grobypool:
BradgatQpark: comtMnon Charnwood forest: marshes
e^out the Whitwick rocks: Cropston: Market Bos-
worth : OsbasUm lodge : Saddington and Moira

' — — Sanicola europsea. wood sanide. woods,

— — Conium maculatum. hemlock, common: between Lei'

cester and Aylestone, gathered for sale, MK, rare
about Ashby-de-la-Zouch: plenHf ul at Breedon, WHO,

— — Apium graveolens. wild celery, ditch in Bilstone near

Congerstone : T\irlangton village, AB, Ratcliffe CtUeg
viUage, NP8. ditch on the Grobg roed, CT,

— — Petroadinum aathnun. common parsley, in a hedge

near the aqueduct at Shenton. AB. castle ruins Ashbg^
de-la-Zouch, tramway near Old Parks, WHO, hedge
on the Derby road, near Loughhorough, JH, Breedon

— — P. segetum. stone parsley, plantations at Westcotes, CT,

— — Helosdadium nodiflorum. procumbent marshwort.

brooks and ditches,
b. repens. creeping marshwort. diUo,

— — H. inundatum. least marshwort. near Saddington reser-

voir, SK, Moira reservoir, WHC,

— -T- Sison amomum. hedge bastard stone parsley, plentiful

in the lane from Thurcaston to Ansty: Belton: Bos^
worth : Congerstone, 8fc,

— — iEgopodium podagraria. gout weed, common,

— — Bunium flexuosum. earth-nut. woods and pastures,


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V. II. Pimpinella saxifraga. burnet saxifrage, common.

— — P. magna, greater burnet saxifrage, frequent near Lei"

cesier: plentiful in and phout Breedon Cloud wood:
Thurcaaton: Grohy pool: Newbold Verdon: Conger^
stone : ♦ Piper*8 hole : Clawson, 8fc.

— — Sium latifolium. broad-leaved water parsnep. in the

river Soar between Loughborough and Leicester,
Dr. P.

— —- S. angustifolium. narrow-leaved water parsnep. brooks

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