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 shrub is copses and thickets. The plant has the shrub habit. The stems are tufted, branched, rigid, erect, stout, angled. The young shoots are scaly. The flattened branches or clad-odes are twisted below, and take the place of leaves, the leaves being small scales, the cladodes in their axils. The cladodes are spiny, egg-shaped, narrowed, acute, tough, woody, rigid. The flowers are borne in the centre of the cladodes, and are white and solitary, on the upper, which is the apparent lower surface. The short flower-stalk is parallel with the surface. The male flowers are borne on the narrower cladodes. There are usually 1-2 flowers, with a flat membranous border, 1-veined, awl-like bract. The fruit is a berry, scarlet, 1-celled. The seeds are rounded. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering in March and April. It is an evergreen shrub, perennial.
The habitat of this plant is woods, wooded banks, and glens. The habit is erect, from a prostrate rhizome, with an arching, graceful scape. The stem is angled, erect, tall. The leaves are in whorls of 3-5 (hence verticillatum), stalkless, limp, the margins and veins below fringed with hairs, and linear to lance-shaped. The flowers are greenish-white. The perianth is narrowed in the middle, greenish. The flower-stalks bear 1-5 flowers. The anther-stalks are papillose. The fruit is a berry, red when ripe. The plant is 2-3 ft. high, flowering in June and July, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is woods. The habit is as in the last. The stem is rounded, leafless below, arching. The leaves are alternate, arranged one side of the stalk, oblong to egg-shaped, half-clasping, hairless, shortly stalked, acute or blunt. The perianth is greenish-white, narrowed in the middle. The stalks bear 2-5 flowers. The anther-stalks are downy. The berries are bluish. The plant is 2-4 ft. high, flowering in May, June, July, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is woods and limestone cliffs. The habit is as in the last. The stem is angled and arched. The leaves are alternate, elliptic, lance-shaped, or oblong to egg-shaped, arranged one side of the stalk, half-clasping, leathery. The flowers are solitary, large. The perianth is cylindrical, greenish-white, the lobes broad. The anther-stalks are without hairs. Rarely the flower-stalks bear 3 flowers. The berry is bluish-black. The plant is 6-18 in. high, flowering in May and June, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is woods. The habit- is lily-like. The plant is downy or smooth. The stem is erect, wavy. The rootstock is thread-like, creeping. The radical leaves are heart-shaped, acute, 2-lobed below, with many nerves, long-stalked. The 2-3 stem-leaves are short-stalked, the upper stalkless. The flowers are fragrant, small, yellow, sulphur colour, in a terminal, spiked raceme, nearly erect. The stalks are slender and solitary. The bracts are minute. The 4 segments of the perianth are turned back. The fruit is a round berry, white, dotted, with a blunt point. The plant is 4-8 in. high, flowering in May (hence Mayflower), and is a herbaceous perennial.