This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
I. Gipsywort (Lycopus europaeus, L. ). 2. Skull-cap (Scutellaria galericulata, L.). 3. Amphibious Knotgrass (Polygonum amphibium, L.). 4. Crack Willow (Salix fragilis, L.). 5. Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, L.). 6. Yellow Flag (Iris Pseudacorus, L.).
The flowers are small and proterandrous in the complete flowers. There are small female flowers. The corolla is bell-shaped, 3-4 mm. long, 2 1/2 mm. wide at the mouth, hardly 1 mm. wide at the base. The honey is secreted at the base of the ovary, which has a yellow, fleshy base, and can be reached by short-lipped insects. It is sheltered from rain by long hairs which reach from the sides of the corolla to the middle. The underlip has purple spots on it which serve as honey-guides. The 2 stigmas are still unex-panded when the anthers have ripened. As soon as they spread the anthers wither and are turned down. There is a wide space between the anthers and the stigmas to secure the plant against being self - pollinated. Two of the stamens are rudimentary. There are many visitors, which touch the 2 developed stamens on account of the small size of the flower.
These visitors include Polistes, Melithreptus, Syritta, Lucilia, Sarcophaga, Pollenia, Hemiptera, several bugs, Lepidoptera, Adela, Thysanoptera, Thrips.
The nutlets are free, and fall around the parent plant, which is thus dispersed by its own agency, or if they fall in the water by the agency of the water.
Photo. H. Irving - Gipsywort (Lycopus Europaeus, L.)
Gipsywort is a peat-loving plant and requires a peat soil, or a clay-loving plant and grows on clay soil.
Three beetles, Scirtes hemisphaericus, Longitarsus lycopi, L. abdomi-nalis, are found upon it. No fungi infest the plant.
Lycopus, Fuchs, is from the Greek lukos, wolf, and pous, foot, from the shape of the leaves; and the second name (Latin) refers to its supposed range.
The plant is known as Gipsy-herb, Gipsy-wort, Marsh Horehound, Water Horehound. It is called Gipsy-herb on account of its use by "those stroling cheats called gipsies" to give themselves "swart colour such as the Egyptians and the people of Afrike are of (Gerarde).
This plant yields a black dye, and a permanent colour to wool, linen, and silk. There are 82 flowers in a whorl. The leaves vary much in the degree of hairiness, and may be smooth or slightly downy.
Essential Specific Characters:248. Lycopus europaeus, L. - Stem erect, branched, leaves petiolate, acute, serrate, opposite, flowers small, white, sessile, in dense whorls, axillary, calyx 5-fid.