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.
Selago Ovata. Oval-headed Selago.
Cal. 5-fidus. Cor. tubus capillaris; limbus subaequalis, Sem. 1.
SELAGO ovata spicis strobilinis ovatis terminalibus, foliis sparsis linearibus, caule fruticoso. L'Herit. Stirp. nov. tom. 2. t. 33. Ait. Hort. Kew. V. 2. p. 355.
LIPPIA ovata capitulis ovatis, foliis linearibus integerrimis. Linn. Mant. p. 89.
Linnaeus in his Mantissa has somewhat largely described this plant under the name of Lippia ovata, evidently from a dried specimen, which may account for the flowers being described of a dark violet colour; he recommends it to such as might have an opportunity of seeing the living plant, to observe if it was not referable to some other genus; accordingly Mons. L'Heritier, who, when lately in England, saw it in the royal garden at Kew, joined it to the genus Selago, retaining the trivial name of ovata, bractaeata would perhaps have been a better name; for though its ovate inflorescence may be peculiar to the species, its bracteae or floral leaves are so very singular that they constitute the most prominent feature of the plant.
Mr. Aiton informs us, that it was introduced to the royal garden at Kew, from the Cape, by Mr. Masson, in 1774.
It recommends itself not so much on account of its beauty, curious structure of its flowering spikes, and the fragrance of its blossoms.
It is a greenhouse plant, and flowers during most of the summer; its blossoms are white with a yellow spot on the two uppermost, and sometimes on all the segments of the corolla, and an orange spot at the mouth of the tube.
Is propagated by cuttings.