This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect perennial pubescent herbs, with palmately lobed reniform leaves, and small solitary greenish-white flowers. Sepals 3, petaloid, falling away at anthesis. Petals none. Stamens numerous. Carpels 00, each bearing two ovules near the middle, and in fruit forming a head of 1-2-seeded crimson berries, somewhat resembling a raspberry; stigma flat. [Greek, water-acting, from its supposed drastic properties.]
Two known species, the typical one of eastern North America, the other Japanese.
Hydrastis canadensis L. Syst. Ed. 10, 1088. 1759.
Perennial from a thick yellow rootstock, about 1o high. Basal leaf long-petioled, 5'-8' broad, palmately 5-9-lobed, the lobes broad, acute, sharply and unequally serrate; cauline leaves 2, borne at the summit of the stem, the upper one subtending the greenish-white flower, which is 4"-S" broad when expanded; filaments widened, about 2" long; anthers oblong, obtuse; head of fruit ovoid, blunt, about 8" long, the fleshy carpels tipped with a short curved beak.
In woods, Connecticut to Minnesota, western Ontario, Georgia, Missouri and Kansas. Ascends to 2500 ft. in Virginia. April. Called also yellow puccoon, yellow-root, turmeric-root, yellow Indian paint. Indian-dye, -iceroot or -turmeric. Ohio cucuma. Eye-balm or -root. Yellow eye. Ground-raspberry.
2. CĮLTHA [Rupp.] L. Sp. Pl. 558. 1753. Succulent herbs, with simple entire or crenate mostly basal cordate or auriculate leaves. Flowers yellow, white or pink. Sepals large, deciduous, petal-like. Petals none. Stamens numerous, obovoid. Carpels numerous or few, sessile, bearing ovules in 2 rows along the ventral suture, in fruit forming follicles; stigmas nearly sessile. [Latin name of the Marigold.]
A genus of beautiful marsh plants, comprising about 15 species, distributed through the temperate and arctic regions of both hemispheres. In addition to those here described, four or five others are found on the western side of the continent. Type species: Caltha palustris L.
Stems erect or ascending; flowers yellow.
Leaves cordate, generally with a narrow sinus; flowers 3/4'-1 1/2' wide.
Leaves flabelliform with a broad sinus; flowers 6"-9" wide.
Caltha palustris L. Sp. Pl. 558. 1753.
Stout, glabrous, stem hollow, erect or ascending, 1°-2° high, branching and bearing several flowers. Basal leaves on long and broad petioles, cordate or reniform, 2'-7' wide, with a narrow sinus, entire, crenate or dentate, the upper shorter-petioled or sessile, with nearly truncate bases; flowers bright yellow, 1'-1 1/2' broad; sepals oval, obtuse; follicles 3-12 or even more, compressed, s"-6" long, slightly curved outward, many-seeded.
In swamps and meadows, Newfoundland to South Carolina, west to Saskatchewan and Nebraska. Ascends to 2500 ft. in Virginia. Locally called cowslip and used as a spring vegetable. April-June. Old English names, water-dragon, water-, mire-, horse- or may-blobs. Meadow-buttercups. American or spring cowslips. Capers. Cow-lily. Crowfoot. Coltsfoot. King-cup. Open or water gowan. Soldiers-buttons. Palsy-wort. Great bitter-flower. Meadow-bouts. Boots. Crazy-bet. Gools. Bull-flower. Drunkards. Water-goggles.
Caltha radicans Forst., which roots at the lower nodes of the stem, and has somewhat smaller flowers, is apparently a race of this species, mostly of high boreal range.