This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The habitat of this plant is sandy banks, shores, pastures, down's, dry sandy places, etc. The habit is erect or ascending. The stem is branched, rather woody, 4-angled, sometimes downy. The leaves are 8, in a whorl, linear, awl-like, with the margins rolled back, rough above, bluntly pointed, bent back, channelled above, downy below. The flowers are golden-yellow, in numerous small, dense, compound panicles, nearly terminal or axillary, in a sort of spike. The petals are blunt, with a short point. The fruit-stalks are spreading. The fruit is small, black, smooth. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering from June to September, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is hedges, roadsides, and copses. The habit is prostrate, then ascending. The root-stock is creeping. The stem is simple above, slender, branched below. The leaves are 4, in a whorl (hence Cruciata and Crosswort), hairy both sides, elliptic to oblong, egg-shaped, 3-nerved. The flowers are in axillary cymes, with bracts, the flowers terminal, complete, few, on short stalks, the outer male, 8, in a corymb, not so long as the leaves. The fruit is rounded, with the stalk bent back. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering in May and June, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is hedges and copses. The habit is prostrate, then ascending. The stem is branched, 4-angled, thickened at the nodes, limp, hairless or hairy. The leaves are 6-8, in a whorl, inversely egg-shaped, lance-shaped, oblong, with a blunt point, the margins rough, with erect or forwardly-directed prickles, slightly translucent, veined, hardly separate below, the leaves on the main stem horizontal or bent down. The flowers are small, white, numerous, in horizontal or bent-down cymes, the branches of the panicle broad and spreading. The petals are slightly hooded. The fruit-stalks are spreading. The fruit is black, shagreened, hairless. The styles are nearly free. The plant is 1-4 ft. high, flowering in July and August, and is a herbaceous perennial.