[Caltha signifies in Greek a goblet, and refers to the appearance of the flower when not fully expanded.]
Caltha palustris. - Marsh Marigold. - This is a handsome indigenous perennial, seen in the early part of May, ornamenting the margin of brooks and wet places with a great profusion of its yellow blossoms, by which the course of a stream may be traced a great distance by the abundant bloom in the green grass. This plant, in its tender state, is gathered for greens and is brought to market under the name of Cowslip. It is a plant well remembered in our juvenile days as being one of the most conspicuous May-day flowers, and for wet feet, caused in gathering it. It is also a native of England, and the north of Europe, where it makes the same brilliant appearance in their meadows as it does in our own. The flower buds, gathered before they expand, are said to be a good substitute for capers, and their juice, boiled with alum, stains paper yellow. In Lapland it is the first flower that announces the approach of spring, although it does not appear there till the end of May. There is a double variety which is quite ornamental, and succeeds very well in garden soil, if not very dry. It flowers most of the season, and is more dwarfish than the wild single variety. The flowers are very full double, and have some resemblance to the Trollius. It is propagated by parting the roots; it likes the shade, and if in a wet place, so much the better, for its natural place of growth is-
- "Not the sunny plain. But where the grass is green with shady trees, And brooks stand ready for the kine to quaff."
[From the Greek for calyx and to cover in reference to the bracts which enclose the calyx.]
A native species which climbs over fences and hushes in low grounds. Stem twining, a little angular, smooth; leaves large, arrow-shaped; the upper ones with the lobes mostly cut off. Flowers large, white or rose color, blooming in June and July. A beautiful perennial, which, were it not for its propensity to fill the whole ground with plants from its abundant suckers, would be very desirable.
A Chinese species with elegant double rose-colored flowers, which was introduced into our gardens a few years ago, but which has proved a great nuisance. In my garden, it would throw up young plants at a great distance from the old one; in fact, it would establish itself everywhere, and it required several years of vigilance to eradicate it.
A native perennial species of dwarf habit, growing in dry sandy woods. It is about a foot high, with leafy branches which never twine. From the lower part of the stem arises a long peduncle (sometimes two) bearing a large white flower of much beauty. It is found from Maine to Wisconsin and southward, in rather barren localities, but not very common. This was formerly called Convolvulus stans, and the other species were also included in Convolvulus, from which they are separated on account of the two broad leafy bracts which surround the calyx.