FIGWORT FAMILY - ScrophulariaceaŽ: Culver's-root; Culver's Physic

Veronica virginica (Leplandra virginica)

Flowers--Small, white or rarely bluish, crowded in dense spike-like racemes 3 to 9 in. long, usually several spikes at top of stem or from upper axils. Calyx 4-parted, very small; corolla tubular, 4-lobed; 2 stamens protruding; 1 pistil. Stem: Straight, erect, usually unbranched, 2 to 7 ft. tall. Leaves: Whorled, from 3 to 9 in a cluster, lance-shaped or oblong, and long-tapering, sharply saw-edged.

Preferred Habitat--Rich, moist woods, thickets, meadows.

Flowering Season--June-September.

Distribution--Nova Scotia to Alabama, west to Nebraska.

"The leaves of the herbage at our feet," says Ruskin, "take all kinds of strange shapes, as if to invite us to examine them. Star-shaped, heart-shaped, spear-shaped, arrow-shaped, fretted, fringed, cleft, furrowed, serrated, in whorls, in tufts, in wreaths, in spires, endlessly expressive, deceptive, fantastic, never the same from footstalks to blossom, they seem perpetually to tempt our watchfulness, and take delight in outstripping our wonder." Doubtless light is the factor with the greatest effect in determining the position of the leaves on the stem, if not their shape. After plenty of light has been secured, any aid they may render the flowers in increasing their attractiveness is gladly rendered. Who shall deny that the brilliant foliage of the sumacs, the dogwood, and the pokeweed in autumn does not greatly help them in attracting the attention of migrating birds to their fruit, whose seeds they wish distributed? Or that the clustered leaves of the Dwarf Cornel and Culver's-root, among others, do not set off to great advantage their white flowers which, when seen by an insect flying overhead, are made doubly conspicuous by the leafy background formed by the whorl?