This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Dodecatheon Meadia. Mead's Dodecatheon, or American Cowslip.
Corolla rotata, reflexa. Stamina tubo insidentia. Capsula unilocularis, oblonga.
DODECATHEON Meadia. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 163. Sp. Plant. p. 163.
MEADIA Catesb. Car. 3. p. 1. t. 1. Trew. Ehret. t. 12.
AURICULA ursi virginiana floribus boraginis instar rostratis, cyclaminum more reflexis. Pluk. alm. 62. t. 79. f. 6.
This plant grows spontaneously in Virginia and other parts of North America, from whence, as Miller informs us, it was sent by Mr. Banister to Dr. Compton, Lord Bishop of London, in whose curious garden he first saw it growing in the year 1709.
It is figured by Mr. Catesby, in his Natural History of Carolina, among the natural productions of that country, who bestowed on it the name of Meadia, in honour of the late Dr. Mead, a name which Linnaeus has not thought proper to adopt as a generic, though he has as a trivial one.
"It flowers the beginning of May, and the seeds ripen in July, soon after which the stalks and leaves decay, so that the roots remain inactive till the following spring.
"It is propagated by offsets, which the roots put out freely when they are in a loose moist soil and a shady situation; the best time to remove the roots, and take away the offsets, is in August, after the leaves and stalks are decayed, that they may be fixed well in their new situation before the frost comes on. It may also be propagated by seeds, which the plants generally produce in plenty; these should be sown in autumn, soon after they are ripe, either in a shady moist border, or in pots, which should be placed in the shade; in the spring, the plants will come up, and must then be kept clean from weeds; and, if the season proves dry, they must be frequently refreshed with water: nor should they be exposed to the sun; for while the plants are young, they are very impatient of heat, so that I have known great numbers of them destroyed in two or three days, which were growing to the full sun. These young plants should not be transplanted till the leaves are decayed, then they may be carefully taken up and planted in a shady border, where the soil is loose and moist, at about eight inches distance from each other, which will be room enough for them to grow one year, by which time they will be strong enough to produce flowers, so may then be transplanted into some shady borders in the flower-garden, where they will appear very ornamental during the continuance of their flowers." Miller's Gard. Dict.