A frequent companion of the dock is the big burly Burdock {Arctium lappa), whose large heart-shaped foliage forms a remarkable cluster by the road-side. Their ball-like flowers, of a dull purplish hue, are armed with prickles set in a spiny seed-cup; these are the burrs of schoolboys. Shakespeare frequently alludes to their clinging qualities. Celia says to Rosalind in "As you Like it," " They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery: if we walk not in the common paths, our very petticoats will catch them." The leaves, when laid on the part affected, have some virtue in relieving rheumatic pains.

The spiny foliage and stiff stems of the Rest Harrow {Ononis arvensis) are frequently seen in the neighbourhood of the burdock. Its pink butterfly-shaped blossoms are but seldom found now in cultivated fields, but they make their home in waste places, and on the common, or the sides of the grassy lanes. It is known as landwhin in the Eastern counties, while the Scotch call it cammock. The roots are sweet, and have the flavour of liquorice.

As the summer wears on, the well-known Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) displays its blue bells, which have so variegated an appearance, in consequence of the buds and stamens being pink in colour. The rough leaves are so thickly set with prickles that even donkeys refuse to crop the bristly rigid plant. The name of viper's bugloss appears to be common to the plant on the continent. Its spotted stem was supposed to resemble the skin of the snake, and its seeds have a fanciful resemblance to a viper's head. Hence, even old Gerarde supposes the plant to possess sovereign virtues against snake bites, as well as a sort of supernatural power over scorpions and other venomous reptiles.

The minute Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens), which so frequently leaves the wall for the garden-walk, flowers and seeds all the summer long. The threadlike leaves are each tipped with a spine, and the flowers are very minute, of a greenish-white tint.

The two common species of Sandwort are now in bloom, and the small star-like white flowers of the Thyrne-leaved Sandwort (Arenaria serpyllifolia), with its acute ovate leaves and rigid stem, from the fork-ings of which the flowers grow, is common on walls. The Fine-leaved Sandwort (Arenaria tenufolia) is a remarkably slender plant, fond of a sandy soil. The Purple Sandwort (Arenaria eulora) has reddish flowers, much-branched stem, and spreading habit of growth.

At the foot and sometimes on the top of the wall the common Pellitory (Parietaria officinalis) may be found. Its dark green oval leaves, red brittle stems, and small pinkish-green flowers, between the stem and leaf, distinguish it. Its warm astringent nature made it in request for toothache, and its salivating properties, from the nitre it contains, added to its value amongst sovereign herbs. It flowers during the summer.

The Ivy-leaved Lettuce (Lactuca muralis) may be found starting from the joints of the ruined wall, or towering its slender head and loose clusters of yellow rayed blossoms at the summit. It is a common plant at Kenilworth, and so is the Dyer's Weed (Reseda luteola), the Dyer's Rocket, yellow weed or weld. It sometimes rears its tall racemes on dry banks, where they are conspicuous above the surrounding foliago from the number of yellowish flowers with prominent green stamens, not unlike the mignonette. The stem is branched. What is termed Wild Mignonette grows commonly on chalky hills. It is the Base Rocket (Reseda luted). Its spike is broader, the flowers more yellow, and the leaves cleft instead of undivided like the dyer's weed.

Round the villages on many a waste spot, we shall find the pretty Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis), with its large clusters of pale pink flowers. It grows some twelve inches high, and the stem appears to run through its double, smooth, narrow leaves. Its bitter juice makes a sort of lather with warm water. The Holy Vervain (Verbena officinalis) - Holy Herb, Simpler's Joy - is also common near houses. It is a long slender-branched plant, with few leaves, and the small bluish-lilac blossoms form a spike at the termination of each branch. The virtues of this herb are but few, but it appears to have been held in reverence for many centuries. The Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium) is sometimes found, with its rough leaves, and whito bell-shaped flowers, which the leaves shield tenderly at night. Its curious ovate prickly fruit, from which the well-known narcotic is extracted, gives it its name. The plant was introduced by old Gerarde. The Poisonous Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is known by its foetid smell, spotted stem, and dark foliage among umbelliferous plants. Quite a different plant is the Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). The much-branched, rounded stem and foliage are all covered with unctuous foetid hairs. The clustered dingy yellow flowers are streaked with purple, and it has often a purple eye. It is a valuable medicine, and its leaves were formerly smoked for asthmatic affections.

The Dwarf Elder, or Danewort (Sambucus elulus), sometimes haunts the ruined castle and abbey. It also is a noxious plant, with a foetid odour. Its serrated leaflets, dwarf growth, white clusters, red externally, but with purple anthers, distinguish it from the common elder. The berries are reddish-black. Its common name, Danewort, is supposed to have been derived from a tradition that it grew up only where blood had been spilt in the Danish wars.

During the summer, in the south, on rocky places, the whorled leaves of the Madder (Bulla peregrinia) may be seen. About midsummer the greenish-white flowers begin to appear, as the creeping stem attains its full height of some two or three feet. In autumn the rigid foliage becomes bronzed, and the margins prickly. Another colouring plant, growing on a stem about two feet high with a one-sided cluster of purple flowers, is the Alkanet (Anchusa officinalis). It may sometimes be found, but it is scarcely considered a British wild flower. The plant is valuable from the colouring matter in the roots.

Rock Rose. Butterwort. Milkwort. Sundew. Nymphaea like Villarsia. Thoruapple. Marsh Cinquefoil.

1. Rock Rose. 2. Butterwort. 3. Milkwort. 4. Sundew. 5. Nymphaea-like Villarsia. 6. Thoruapple. 7. Marsh Cinquefoil.

On the Severn rocks we may look out for the Cheddar Pink (Dianthus coesius), and the pretty yellow flowered Bock Rose (Helianthemum vulgare), with its shrubby stems, which also grows on gravelly soils. On limestone rocks a white variety is sometimes found; but, with the exception of the common rock rose, the whole family are local and rare. The bright yellow Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis Cambrica) is in bloom on "Severn's banks and Snowdon's cliffs," and the Clove Gillyflower (DiantJins caryopliyllus), the humble progenitor of our glorious carnations, grows on old stone walls. It is the "July flower" par excellence of our ancestors "The curious choice clove July flower;" though its small pink flowers would scarcely suggest its relationship.

Far more common, however, is the Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), with its deep rose-tinted clusters of flowers, opposite leaves green and smooth, of a sea-green tint. It is frequently found on old churches, and possesses similar properties to the Water-side Valerian, - the setewall of our forefathers.

Long ere the valerian has ceased to bloom, the shadowa begin to lengthen and the autumn flowers to blow.

Walls Ruins Rocks And Waste Places 40