Low herbs or climbing shrubs, with alternate leaves and perfect flowers. Perianth tube adherent to the ovary, brown or dull, valvate in the bud. Stamens 6 to 12, epigynous and adherent to the base of the styles. Ovary 6-celled, becoming a 6celled, many-seeded capsule or berry. Seed albuminous, embryo minute. Fig. 133.
Genera 9, species 180, most abundant in the tropical countries of S. America, thinly diffused throughout the northern hemisphere. Properties tonic and stimulant. Both the following genera are successfully employed in medicine.
i. ASA'RUM, Tourn. Wild Ginger. (Gr. a, not, a band, because rejected in wreathing garlands.) Calyx campanulate, regular, 3-cleft; stamens 12, placed upon the ovary, anthers adnate to the middle or summit of the filaments; style very short; stigma 6-rayed; fruit fleshy, 6-celled, crowned with the calyx. - Herbs with creeping rhizomes and 1 or 2 lvs. on each branch. Fls. solitary.
§ Leaves in pairs. Calyx lobes pointed reflexed. Ovary wholly adherent...............
§ Leaves solitary. Calyx lobes obtuse, suberect. Ovary partly free..................
Nos. 2, 3
1 A. Canadense L. Lvs. 2, broad-reniform, on long, opposite petioles with the flower between; calyx woolly, deeply 3-cleft, the segm. reflected. - In rich, shady soil, Can. to Ga. and W. States. Lvs. radical, large, 2 to 4' by 3 to 5', with a deep sinus at base, and a soft, velvet-like surface. Fl. solitary, on a nodding peduncle, and close to the ground, sometimes even buried just beneath the surface. Cal. purplish, of 3 broad, long-pointed divisions abruptly spreading. Fil. longer than the anthers, their tips (connectile) produced beyond them. May - Jl. - The rhizome is a popular medicine, used in measles and whooping cough.
2 A. Virginicum L. Lvs. solitary, orbicular-ovate, glabrous, coriaceous, deeply cordate, entire, obtuse; fl. subsessile; cal. short, subcampanulate, glabrous externally. - Grows in light soils among rocks, and Mts., Va., Ky. to Ga. A low, stem-less plant, very similar in habit to the preceding. Each branch of the rhizome bears a terminal leaf and a flower. Leaf 2 to 3' diam., very smooth, clouded with spots, the petiole twice longer, lobes at base rounded and nearly closed. Flower many times shorter than the petiole. Calyx segments obtuse, of a dusky purple, greenish outside. Apr.
3 A. arifolium Mx. Lvs. solitary, broadly hastate, puberulent on the veins, thin, with a deep sinus at base, the lobes obtusely angled and turned slightly outward; cal. inflated-urceolate, contracted above, with 3 very short, obtuse lobes at summit. - Rich soils, Va. to Fla. and La. Rhizomes slender, white. Petioles 2 to 3' long. Lvs. 2 to 3' by 1 to 2', margins wavy. Fls. 9" long, roughish, purplish-brown as long as their stalks. Mar. - May.
2. ARISTOLO'CHIA, Tourn. Birthwort. (Gr. excellent,
child-birth; alluding to the medicinal properties.) Calyx tubular, tube variously bent and inflated above the ovary, border unequal; anthers 6, subsessile upon the style; stigma 6-lobed; capsule (6-celled, septicidal, many-seeded. - St. erect or twining.
§ Stem erect. Calyx tube sigmoid (i. e., twice bent like letter S)......................
§ Stem climbing. Calyx tube recurved, once bent upwards..............................
1 A. serpentaria L. Virginia Snake-root. St erect, flexuous; lvs. petiolate, oblong or ovate, thin, cordate, acuminate; ped. radical, many bructed; cal. tubs smoothish, contracted in the midst, limb obscurely 2-lipped. - A curious vegetable in hedges and thickets. Penn. to Ill. and La. St. 8 to 13' high, subsimple, jointed, herbaceous. Lvs. variable in width, 2 to 4' by 9" to 2' rarely larger. Fls. few. Cal. dull purple, of a leathery texture, tubular, 7 to 9" long, twice bent almost double, enlarged at each end, the limb with 3 short, obtuse lobes. Caps, obovate, 6-angled, 6 to 9" long. Jn., Jl.
β. ? hastata. Lvs. lance-oblong, or oblong linear, auriculate at base, on petioles as short as the auricles. - S. Car. to La. St. very slender and usually simple. Fls. not seen. Lvs. 2 to 3' by 3 to 5". (A. hastata Nutt.)
2 A. reticulata Nutt. St. erect, very flexuous, hirsute, simple; lvs. oval, sessile, cordate-clasping with decussating lobes, apex obtuse or bluntly acute; veinlets and veinulets finely reticulated, all prominent and hairy beneath; ped. below the lvs., simple or branched, hirsute, bracted; cal. small, densely woolly. - La. (Hale.) About If high. Fls. 5" long, about half the size of No. 1. Lvs. rather thick, 3 to 4' by 2 to 3'.
3 A. Sipho L'Her. Dutchman's Pipe. St. twining, shrubby; lvs. glabrous, ample, roundish, cordate, entire, petiolate; ped. 1-flowered, furnished with a single, ovate clasping bract; cal. tube bent, ascending, limb 3-cleft, equal. - A vigorous climber in mountainous woods, Western Penn. to Ky. and S. States. St. woody, twining, and ascending trees 30 to 40f. Leaves 6 - 12' diam., alternate, sprinkled with soft hairs. Flowers solitary, the tube long (16") bent at nearly a right angle, in the form of a (siphon or) tobacco pipe, and of a dull brown color. May, Jn. † Highly ornamental for arbors.
4 A. tomentosa Sims. Twining, shrubby; lvs. downy or hairy beneath, roundish, cordate, entire, petiolate, very veiny; ped. solitary, 1-flowered, bractless; cal. downy, bent upwards, greenish-yellow, limb dark-purple, nearly equal, rugous, re-flexed, 3-cleft, throat oblong and oblique, nearly closed. - Woods along rivers, S. Ill. to La. and Ga. St. climbing tall trees 30 to 40f. Lvs. 4 to 6' long, 3 to 4' wide. Ped. as long as the petioles. Cal tube (20" long) contracted above the ovary and strongly recurved. Stig. 3-lobed. May. Jn.