[From the Greek, signifying to drive away bugs. - A Siberian species being used as a bugbane.]'
Cimicifuga racemosa. - Black Snake-root. - Black Cohosh. - A native plant, not often seen in gardens, but which, from its stately habit, is worth growing where there is room for it. The leaves are large and much divided; the flower-stalk grows to the height of six or eight feet, and produces numerous long spikes of small white flowers. The root of this is one of the many things that have had a reputation as antidotes for snake bites. This is sometimes called Actoea racemosa; the Actaeas have berry-like fruit, while this has dry pods. Actaea spicata of our woods, is rather showy for its fruit; there are two varieties, alba and rubra, with white and red berries, which may find a place in large collections.
[Named in honor of Capt. Clark, who discovered it in his expedition, with Capt. Lewis, to the Columbia river.]
A handsome dwarf-plant, eight to twelve inches high, with beautiful rose or light-purple flowers; annual, as are all the species. In bloom from July to September. If the seed is planted in April or May it will succeed very well, but the plants will be much stronger from seed sown in August or September. The young plants will stand the winter very well, if protected with a few leaves. The soil should not be over-rich or moist, as the plants frequently damp off if so situated. In a good, rather light loam, it succeeds best. The varieties of this species are numerous, viz.:- white, rose, lilac, with double varieties of the same: Tom Thumb varieties, marginata, etc., integripetala alba, Fimbriata and integripetala.
This beautiful species was found in California, by Mr. Douglas, and was first raised in the garden of the London Horticultural Society in 1832. Since then, this and the other species, with their numerous varieties, have been generally disseminated throughout Europe and America, or wherever choice flowers are cultivated. This plant grows one and one-half to two feet high, and is raised from seed. All the varieties, when grown in large masses, are highly ornamental. The varieties of C. elegans are those with purple and rose-colored flowers; also, double-purple, rose, flesh color and white. It is sometimes called C. rosea.
This is also an annual, growing about two feet high. The flowers are an inch across, purple and white, near the bottom of each petal, spotted with white. All the varieties are fine for bouquets, as the foliage, as well as the flowers, is delicate and pretty.
~ [From the Greek, for tendril; in allusion to the climbing habits of most of the species.]
The species are mostly climbing shrubs, or herbaceous perennials, of rapid growth, free bloomers, very ornamental, and some are highly odoriferous.
Clematis Virginiana is a native plant, well known as a great climber, growing profusely upon the banks of our rivers and wet places; taking possession and covering all the shrubs in its neighborhood, to which it attaches itself by its petioles, (which are given off, at intervals, in pairs,) twining round objects for support, and serving the purpose of tendrils. The flowers are white, borne in cymes, and make a handsome appearance the beginning of August. The most remarkable appearance of this plant is when in fruit; the long feathery tails of the fruits separating like tufts of wool. It grows twenty feet or more in a season, most of the stem perishes, leaving but a small shrubby portion. It makes an appropriate covering for an arbor or wall; for, whether in flower or fruit, it is ornamental.
C. erecta is strictly an herbaceous plant, growing from three to four feet high, producing large clusters of white flowers in August. It requires support, as it has the propensity to attach itself to everything in its neighborhood, like the last, by its petioles.
A handsome, upright plant, about two feet high, producing nodding, bell-shaped, blue flowers, most of the season.
C. Viticella is a much admired species, with blue flowers, which are produced from June to September, on long peduncles from the axils of the leaves; rather bell-shaped, and nodding. It is a climber, growing from eight to ten feet in a season, dying down to the ground, in this climate, but otherwise hardy. There is a variety with double flowers, others with brownish-red flowers, and several improved varieties.
C. Flammula is a luxuriant climber, having clusters of small white fragrant flowers, in August and September.
C. florida has large white flowers; like the last, a luxuriant climber. There is a variety with double flowers.
This magnificent plant is said to be a variety of C.florida, and, till lately, treated as a green-house plant, but it has proved as hardy as the other sorts. The flowers are three or four inches in diameter, the outer sepals, or petals, a creamy white, filled up with others, disposed in many series, the groundwork of the petals is white, suffused with a rich purple. No plant possesses a stronger claim to a place in the flower-garden, from its graceful habit, and from the size and beauty of its blossoms.
The plant thrives best in a mixture of loam and peat, and is increased by layers. It was introduced by Dr. Siebold, from Japan, a few years since. I have kept it two winters, by covering it lightly with coarse manure. C. azurea grandiflora, or Great-flowering Blue Virgin's Bower, has still larger flowers than the variety Sieboldii.
It has the reputation of being more tender, requiring greater heat to bring it to perfection. With me, it stood near the other species two winters, with the same protection. The flowers are produced only on the old wood; it is necessary, therefore, to lay down, and cover the growth of the season, to insure bloom the next year. The flowers are four or five inches in diameter, of a rich blue, in July; a climber, like the last, but not of so robust growth. C. Sieboldii is certainly the most showy of the genus, but since the first edition of my "Book of Flowers" was published, I have found by experience, that it is not so hardy as G. azurea grandiflora, which has proved quite hardy when the vines are laid down, producing a profusion of its rich blue flowers. Wherever a lattice is mentioned by the Poets, it is expected the Clematis will run over it:
"In the calmness of a cloudless eve, How gently dies a long, long summer's day, O'er yon broad woods, as loth to take its leave, It sheds at.parting its most lovely ray, And golden lights o'er all the landscape play, And languid zephyrs waft their rich perfume Where the wide lattice gives them open way, And breathe a freshness round the twilight room. Prom Jasmine, Clematis, and yellow-blossomed broom."
All the climbing species are shrubby, and if laid down and covered with earth late in autumn, will flower much better than the plants exposed in winter.
C. Cirrh6sa is a beautiful white-flowered, sweet-scented species. Besides the species and varieties enumerated, there are many others, esteemed ornamental.