Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 pyrus malus is known as verjuice; in domestic surgery applied to sprains and scalds. Izaak Walton commends "a syllabub of new verjuice." The berries of the mountain ash contain 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 witchcraft. Selby saw the berries exposed for sale in the streets of Glasgow. "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 polyporus squamosus, and in the autumn fistulina 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 traveller," says Sir J. E. Smith in his Introduction 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."

ORDER. ONAGRACEE.

LINNEAN CLASS. ORDER. VIII. I.

[blocks in formation]

Epilobium angustifolium. rose bay willow-herb. spinney near the park gate, and cow pastures, Market Bosworth. NPS. A large bed in one of the plantations at Gopsal bounding the park on the north. AB.

E. hirsutum. hairy willow herb. common.

E. parviflorum. small-flowered willow-herb. common.
E. montanum. broad smooth-leaved willow-herb.

common.

E. roseum. pale smooth-leaved willow-herb. rare: on the railroad below Desford. AB.

E. palustre. narrow-leaved willow-herb. brook near Stonygate, Leicester: Groby pool: Thurcaston, &c. not uncommon.

E. tetragonum. square-stalked willow-herb. Groby
pool: canal near Leicester: common in wet ditches
and ponds.

Circea lutetiana. enchanter's nightshade. common.
C. alpina. mountain enchanter's nightshade. Westcotes
plantations. CT.

Onagracea, onagra, the ass-food.

Decoction of Epilobium angustifolium is said to intoxicate and stupify. The Kamschatchadales mix it with 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

smoke and will bear the dripping of trees in shrubberies. Circaa 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 Liverpool, and has been gathered by the compiler 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 graceful Clarkias, and the Fuchsia, named from Fuchs, (Anglice, Fox) a German botanist, are of this order.

ORDER.

HALORAGACEÆ.

LINNEAN

CLASS. ORDER.

I.

I.

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

XXI. VII. Myriophyllum verticillatum. whorled water milfoil. in the Soar, Loughborough. WBG.

XXI. 1.

M. spicatum. spiked water milfoil. Groby pool: Gracedieu: Saddington reservoir: in the Soar: common. M. alterniflorum. pond near Twycross. AB. Moira reservoir. WHC.

Callitriche verna. vernal water starwort. common.

LINNEAN

CLASS. ORDER.

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

[blocks in formation]

b. sessilis. near Twycross. AB.

C. autumnalis. autumnal water starwort. Thringstone.
CB. Ditch near Kegworth railway station. FT.
Soar, Abbey pastures. CT. Ditches between Leicester
and Aylestone, and in the Soar near Leicester Abbey.
WBG.

XXI. VII. Ceratophyllum demersum. common hornwort. ponds and reservoirs, common.

C. submersum. unarmed hornwort. rare: Groby pool. CT.

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

A variety of Hippuris is found in salt water in Sweden and Finland. Milfoil, from mille, a thousand, and folium, a leaf. In shallow water M. verticillatum is found with bracts scarcely distinguishable from the leaves, in deep water with bracts much shorter than the leaves, when it becomes M. pectinatum of De Candolle; these forms run into one another. (HERT'S FLORA.) The French call hippuris, pin aquatic, the stellatæ are the only other European plants bearing leaves in the same whorled manner. The seeds, of which only one is produced in each flower, are greedily sought by wild ducks. The infertile stem is thickly clothed with long graceful leaves.

ORDER. LYTHRACEE.

LINNEAN

CLASS. ORDER.

XI. I.

VI. I.

Lythrum salicaria. spiked purple loose-strife. common by streams and ponds, near Leicester: Barrow : Breedon, &c.

Peplis portula. water purslane. marshy ground near Market Bosworth: Old gravel pit near Cadeby. NPS. Whitwick: Twycross. AB. Old stone quarry behind the Copt Oak. FTM. Bradgate park. CT. Moira reservoir: pond by Willesley wood. WHC.

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

The Henna of Egypt (Lawsonia alba) 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.

MASSINGER.

« PreviousContinue »