[The ancient Greek name for Fumitory, to which this genus is closely related.]
CorydaliS glauca. - Pale Corydalis. - An indigenous biennial, growing in rocky places, from one to three feet high, with glaucous leaves; flowers yellow, red, and green, in June; propagated by seed. This, and the less common C. aurea, which has golden yellow flowers, are both pretty plants for rock-work.
[A name made use of by Pliny, a plant of which he gives no description.]
Crepis barbata - The Purple-eyed Crepis, is an uncommonly hardy and beautiful annual, of the easiest culture. The flower-stems are prostrate like those of Convolvulus tricolor. Grown in masses and the plants thinned out to eighteen inches distant, it makes a fine appearance. It begins to flower the first of July, and continues till October or November, covered with beautiful flowers, the rays of a light-yellow, finely contrasted with the brilliant purple-brown of the centre.
[Crocus, an unhappy lover, whom the gods in pity were said to have changed into this flower.]
"Glad as the spring, when the first Crocus comes To laugh amid the shower."
Crocus vernus. - The Spring Crocus is a bulbous rooted plant, of which there are many varieties annually imported from Holland, and sold at very low prices. The most prominent sorts are the great yellow, deep-blue, light-blue, white with blue stripes, blue with white stripes, white with a purple base, pure white, cloth of gold, etc. It flowers in April, and in warm seasons, in sheltered places, frequently in March. "Where there is a plenty of them, they make a magnificent show. The bulbs are small, solid, and flat. They should be planted in September or October, about one inch or one and one-half inch deep, in any good garden soil. They are very hardy, and the only difficulty is their liability to be thrown out by the frost, when the ground is bare, towards spring. To remedy this evil, some light substance should be thrown over them, to shade them from the action of the sun. After flowering, when the leaves have decayed, the roots may be taken up, and kept, until they are wanted to plant in autumn, in some cool, dry place; or they may remain in the ground a number of years without removing.
"Haworth, who has for thirty years paid particular attention to the Crocus, and raised many varieties' from seed, found that the blue, white, and purple flowering kinds ripened their seeds more readily than the yellow, and that the leaves of the latter were narrower through all the species and varieties. When this genus is in flower, the germen is situated underground almost close to the bulb; but some weeks after the decay of the flower, it emerges on a white peduncle and ripens its seed above ground. This extraordinary mode of semination is peculiarly conspicuous in C. nudiflorus, which flowers without leaves in autumn, and throws up its germen the following spring like the Colchicum."
The Autumnal Crocus is supposed to have come originally from the East. The flowers are of a purple, lilac, or pale-blue, blooming in October; the leaves grow all winter. This species of Crocus is also called Saffron, and the medicine so called is obtained from it. It is C. sativus, and is rarely to be seen in our garden.
[From a Greek word, signifying gibbous, in reference to the form of its calyx.]
Cuphea ignea, commonly but incorrectly called 0. platycentra. - A fine dwarf plant for bedding out, with scarlet and purple tubular flowers, which are produced in great profusion through the whole season. It is raised from cuttings, the same as the Verbena, and like that plant, must be housed during the winter. All the Cu-pheas, with which I am acquainted, are tender; most succeed well as annuals, of which I have grown a number of species, but believe, those who have seen the one described above, and compare it with any other sorts introduced, will be satisfied with that alone. G. Zimpanii is a profuse growing, spreading plant, with dark-purple flowers, which wither soon under a hot sun, and, although very pretty, not worth the trouble of raising.
[From Greek words, Venus, and a slipper, an allusion to the elegant slipper-like form of the labellum.]
Cypripedium acaule, differs from the other species in having no stem leaves. The leaves are two, springing from the root, large, oval-lanceolate, plaited, and downy. This is the most common species, sometimes called Two-leaved Lady's Slipper, or Whip-poor-will's Shoe. It is found in rich and somewhat shady woods. This singular flower has its sepals and petals spreading, green with a purple tinge, except the petal which forms the lip, or purple inflated bag, which is veined, villous, and longer than the other parts of the flower. The flower stems are about one foot high, bearing one solitary flower, in May and June.
This is another beautiful indigenous species, not very common about Boston, but found in some localities in this State, New Hampshire and Vermont. The lip of this flower is oblong oval; yellow, dotted inside; its aperture roundish with an in-flexed margin; stem erect; leaves alternate, clasping, oval, nerved, downy; blooms in June.
This is one of the most splendid of this curious genus, indigenous and perennial like the others. It is so highly prized in England that a single plant is often sold for one guinea. It is a stout plant, about two feet high, the stem and leaves hairy; leaves oval-lanceolate, plaited. Flowers two or three, large variegated, with stripes of purple and white; found in some parts of Maine, Canada, and Vermont; flowers in July.
Stem six or eight inches high, with a few alternate lanceolate leaves. Flower much smaller than in any of the foregoing species. Sepals greenish-brown, lip small, inflated, acute, reticulated with red and whiter It has been compared in shape to a ram's head, the lateral petals representing the horns. Found in Maine and northward; flowers in May.
Any attempt to cultivate this beautiful genus of plants, will be vain and futile unless they have a peat or leafy soil, and a shady border. The genus is most interesting to botanists, and well worthy a place in the flower-garden, provided a suitable soil and locality are alloted to it.