The Malvaceous family, another group of the same great subdivision as the foregoing, is represented by the Common Mallow † found abundantly in waste places. This plant is a biennial, that is, of two seasons' duration, and has tall, erect or ascending branching stems, clothed with roundish slightly-lobed leaves, and bearing axillary clusters of reddish purple regular flowers of the true mauve colour, these being the plants whence the French name of that fashionable hue is derived. These flowers will be found to have, external to the five-lobed calyx, an involucel or little involucre of three small bracts inserted on the lower part of the calyx; within comes the whorl of five wedge-shaped petals notched at the end, and the staminal column, which is unlike anything previously described. It consists of the filaments of the stamens united into a tube around the pistil, the lower part of the tube being bare, like a shaft, and the upper decorated with the numerous one-celled anthers, arranged around it in several series, above which the cluster of ten styles projects. The fruit consists of about ten carpels united into a flattish disk or ring, seated within the persistent calyx.
* Lychnis Githago - Plate 9 B. † Malva sylvestris - Plate 9 C.
The Linden, or Lime-tree,* found in woods over the greater part of Europe, and wild in some parts of England, represents a large tropical Order of plants, the Tiliaceous family, which is related to that of Malvaceous plants, but differs in having the two-celled anthers free, or, at least, not consolidated into a column. The Lime forms a large and handsome deciduous tree, furnished with stalked broadly heart-shaped leaves, extended into a point. The inflorescence consists of small cymes produced on the current year's shoots and hanging down on axillary peduncles among the leaves, the peduncle being winged halfway up by a long leaf-like bract, with which it is so far confluent. The flowers themselves are small, greenish, very sweet-scented, consisting of five small sepals and petals, and numerous stamens, which cohere at the very base into several clusters. The globular ovary becomes a small nut, containing one or two seeds.
The Hypericaceous family is confined among British plants to the single genus Hypericum, called St. John's Wort, of which the Small Upright St. John's Wort † is a very good representative. This little plant grows with stiff erect slender stems, one to two feet high, bearing a few short lateral branches, and furnished with opposite cordate leaves, clasping the stem at the base; those of the branches are smaller and narrower, but all are marked with pellucid dots, which become evident on holding up the leaf to the light. The flowers form an oblong panicle at the top of the stem, and are yellow, with five broad obtuse sepals united nearly to the middle, and fringed at top with black glandular teeth; five oblique but regular petals; an indefinite number of stamens, clustered and united at the base into from three to five parcels, which is one of the most particular marks of the Order. This little plant is frequently found in dry woods, and on open heaths and wastes.
* Tilia europaea - Plate 9 D.
† Hypericum pulchrum - Plate 10 A.
The Geraniaceous family finds a representative in the Meadow Crane's-bill,* a handsome species, often cultivated in gardens, but also met with in the wild state in meadows, woods, and thickets. It is a perennial herb, of vigorous habit, with five-parted leaves, the lobes of which are multipartite, with numerous acute segments. The flowers are large, circular, bluish-purple, and loosely panicled. They consist of a five-leaved calyx; a five-petaled regular corolla, the petals of which are broad and obovate, with ciliated claws; ten stamens of unequal length, having the filaments flattened out in the lower part; and a five-lobed ovary, with elongated styles which are joined to a central axis, from which they partially separate when the ripe fruit breaks up. Before this takes place, the fruit has a long tapering beak, which has suggested for the genus the name of Crane's-bill. The Pelargonium is often falsely called Geranium.
Extensively cultivated for its fibre and its seeds, but sowing itself readily as a weed of cultivation, the Flax or Linseed † may be occasionally met with in a semi-wild condition. This belongs to the Linaceous family, a regular-flowered polype-talous group, consisting of herbs and undershrubs, having entire or simple leaves. The Common Flax is a tall erect annual, with smooth slender stems, slightly branched towards the top, occasionally producing a few spindly branches from the base, and everywhere furnished with narrow-lanceolate leaves, At the top of the stem is produced a loose leafy corymb of bright blue flowers, which have five ovate-lanceolate three-nerved acute sepals, five obovate spreading regular petals, and five stamens united below into a hypogynous ring surrounding the roundish ovary, which is crowned by five styles. The capsule is globular or slightly, depressed, really five-celled, but the cells being divided into two by a nearly complete partition, it is apparently ten-celled. The stems of this plant furnish the valuable flax fibre, and its seeds yield linseed oil.
* Geranium pratense - Plate 10 B. † Linum usitatlssimum - Plate 10 C.
The common Tamarisk * is now found in several parts of the southern coast of England, apparently established, though it is probably only an introduced plant. It is a shrub of maritime habitat, and being one of the few which thrive in the vicinity of the sea, is very often planted in such situations. It forms a very elegant shrub of five or six feet in height, with slender erect twiggy branches, covered, in place of leaves, with what have the appearance of scales - little green imbricating bodies lying close over each other, with a loose spur at their base. The flowers are pinkish, and grow in little spikes or racemes. They are small, and have a calyx of four or five sepals, a corolla with an equal number of petals, as many or twice as many stamens, and a free ovary with three styles. The seeds are each crowned with a tuft of cottony hairs.