[From a Celtic word, signifying a cane or reed.}
The Cannas are mostly tropical plants, from four to eight feet high, with elegant foliage.
Canaa patens, Indica, and coccinnea, are found wild within the tropics on all the continents, and chiefly in moist woods, or spongy, woody wastes. In Brazil and other parts of America, they are known by the name of Wild Plantain, and their leaves are used as envelopes for many objects of commerce. In Spain and Portugal, the inhabitants use the seed for making their rosaries; in the East Indies, the seeds are sometimes used as shot. The seeds of most of the species are round, hard, black, shining, heavy, and about one-eighth of an inch in diameter.
This is the most common species, and succeeds well as an annual if the plants are started in a hot-bed. If the seeds are planted in pots, and plunged in the bed when it has its greatest heat, the plants will soon appear; and, if turned into the ground in June, will make large plants, which will flower in July and August. In the green-house, it is a perennial, and may be propagated by dividing the roots.
This is desirable, not only for the beauty of its spikes of scarlet flowers, but also for its elegant foliage. The leaves are of a rich deep green, three feet long and four to six inches wide; very handsome as they unfold themselves; the flower-stem rises five or six feet high.
I have cultivated twelve or thirteen of the different species, all of them characterized by long, broad, and handsome foliage, with, either scarlet, orange, or yellow-flowers; but I find C. Indica the best for this climate. AU the species require a rich garden soil.
[An ancient Greek name for Cress.]
Cardamine pratensis. - Cuckoo-flower, or Lady's Smock, is a native of England and is a common plant in meadows and brook-sides. The Double Cardamine, is the only variety cultivated or deserving a place in the borders, and not very common in this country. "This flower has been usually described by the poets as of a silvery whiteness, which shows the season they have chosen for their rural walks to have been a late one; as, in its natural state, it is more or less tinged with purple, but becomes white as it fades, by exposure to the heat of the sun. The various shades of these flowers, with the little green leaves that enclose their unopened buds, have an exceeding pretty effect when a quantity of them are collected; and, if kept in fresh water, and well supplied, they will survive their gathering for a fortnight or more. The height of the plant is about one foot. The double varieties are purple and white; they are increased by parting the roots in autumn. They love the shade, and require a rich moist soil. It is called 'Lady's Smock,' from the white sheets of flowers they display; and 'Cuckoo-flower,' because it comes at the time with the Cuckoo. Shakespeare's Cuckoo buds are yellow, and supposed to be a species of Ranunculus. Indeed, he expressly distinguishes his Cuckoo bud from this flower":
[From Greek words, signifying heart and seed, in allusion to its round seeds, which are marked with a spot like a heart.] *
Cardiospermum Halicacabum. - Balloon Vine. - Heart-Seed. - A half-hardy annual from the West Indies; a climber. The seed should be sown between the first and tenth of May, and the plant supported with brush; four to six feet high.
The plant is remarkable for its inflated membranous capsule, from which it is sometimes called Balloon Vine, or Love in a Puff. The flowers are white and green, without any claim to beauty.
A hardy, indigenous perennial, four feet high, with yellow flowers, from August to September. Many of this genus are beautiful plants, but mostly tender; some species are sensitive, and close their leaves in wet weather, or at the approach of night.
A handsome perennial, from the south of Europe, one and a half foot high, with brilliant blue flowers, in July and August. It has not proved perfectly hardy with me; but believe it will stand the winter better in a lighter soil than mine. It grows about two feet high. Vaillant explains the meaning of Catananche, by deriving it from two Greek words, and signifying necessity, that is to say, a plant which compels admiration. The name was employed by Dioscorides, to designate a plant used by the women of Thessaly, in philtres and love potions.