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.
Lychnis Chalcedonica. Scarlet Lychnis
Cal. 1-phyllus, oblongus, laevis. Petala 5-unguiculata. Limbo sub-bifido. Caps. 5-locularis.
LYCHNIS chalcedonica floribus fasciculatis fastigiatis. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 435. Ait. Kew. v. 2. p. 16.
LYCHNIS hirsuta flore coccineo major. Bauh. Pin. 203.
FLOS Constantinopolitanus. Dod. Pempt. 178.
LYCHNIS chalcedonica flore simplici miniato. Single Nonsuch, or Flower of Bristow or Constantinople. Parkins. Parad. 253.
The Scarlet Lychnis appears to have been a great favourite with Parkinson, he calls it a glorious flower, and in a wooden print of him prefixed to his Paradisus Terrestris, we see him represented with a flower of this sort in his hand of the double kind.
It grows spontaneously in most parts of Russia, and is one of our most hardy perennials.
The extreme brilliancy of its flowers renders it a plant, in its single state highly ornamental; when double, its beauty is heightened, and the duration of it increased.
It flowers in June and July.
The single sort may be increased by parting its roots in autumn, but more abundantly by seeds, which should be sown in the spring; the double sort may also be increased by dividing its roots, but more plentifully by cuttings of the stalk, put in in June, before the flowers make their appearance; in striking of these, however, there requires some nicety.
This plant is found to succeed best in a rich, loamy, soil; and certain districts have been found to be more favourable to its growth than others.
A white and a pale red variety of it in its single state were known to Clusius, and similar varieties of the double kind are said to exist; it is of little moment whether they do or not, every variation in this plant from a bright scarlet is in every sense of the word a degeneracy.