[From the Greek, meaning twice and spurt on account of the two spurs or sacs at the base of the flowers.]
This genus has had a hard time with regard to its name. When first published, it was by a typographical error, printed Diclytra; it was next called Dielytra, a name by which it goes in many of the catalogues. Several species which the older botanists grouped under Corydalis are included in this genus.
This, one of the finest hardy herbaceous perennials in cultivation, was brought from China, by Mr. Fortune. It is a plant of neat dwarf habit, when grown in pots, and two to three feet high, when grown in rich soil in the garden. The branches of the plant are most gracefully curved. It is one of the most striking objects in the whole range of floral attraction. The foliage is of a light transparent green; the flowers, which are produced on stems in sprays, are of a bright rose pink, about the size of a lozenge, and are heart shaped; the corolla pearly white, set in frosted silver; the stalks are literally gemmed, with these beautiful flowers, by hundreds. To cultivate it in perfection, it must have a season of frost; let those for blooming in winter, be taken up early in October and potted, then place them in a cold frame, and let the weather act on them till after Christmas; remove them in-doors, and they will flower in March. It is well to fill the frame, in autumn, with decayed leaves, in which plunge the pots to the rims. For out-door culture, for which it is eminently calculated, it needs not the slightest protection; will endure the cold of Canada, and come up in April, and flower splendidly in May; can be divided either in fall or spring. Grown in clumps, in a favored part of the garden, it shows to a great advantage.
A handsome indigenous perennial, with flesh-colored or reddish flowers, from May to July; from six to ten inches high. This is the Corydalis formosa of the former edition.
An indigenous perennial, with elegant, finely-divided leaves, of a pale and delicate green: from the midst of the cluster of leaves arises a scape hearing a one-sided, simple raceme of white, singular-looking, pendulous flowers. It is popularly called Dutchman's Breeches, on account of the "resemblance of the corolla to that article of dress. Flowers in May.
Also indigenous, and resembles the preceeding in habit and foliage, but the flowers have rounded spurs, are slightly tinged with red, and have a pleasant fragrance. The root has tubers as large as peas, hence the popular name.
[An ancient name adopted from Virgil. Fraxinella is in allusion to the similarity which exists between the leaves of the plant and Fraxinus, the Ash.]
Dictamnus Fraxinella. - Fraxinella. - The whole plant, especially when gently rubbed, emits an odor like that of the lemon-peel; but when bruised, has something of a balsamic scent. This odor is the strongest in the pedicels of the flowers, which are covered with glands of a rusty red color, exuding a vicous juice, or resin, which exhales a vapor, which may be set on fire. The root was formerly used as medicine. There are two varieties known in flower-gardens; one with purplish-brown, the other with white flowers, which are produced in June and July. They are hardy perennials, natives of Germany, and should find a place in every good collection. The height of the plants, from two to three feet, in rich soil. They may be propagated by dividing the roots, which requires some care if the stools are large, as they are very tough, requiring a strong, sharp knife to divide them; each portion of the root must have an eye, as it will not grow without. The time to separate the roots is very early in the spring, or after it has done flowering in August. It may also be propagated by sowing the seeds as soon as they are ripe. The seeds are very hard, and do not vegetate freely. If sowed in the spring, boiling water should be poured upon them. The plants will flower the second year from the seed.
This is a handsome annual; stem very much branched, producing its fine sky-blue flowers in numerous umbels, or hemispherical heads, of the size and shape of a large quilled Aster; two feet high; in flower July and August. Sow the seed in the open ground in May. Plants, forwarded in a hotbed, will begin to flower in June.