Monkshood; Aconite (Aconitum Uncinatum) is an attractive wild flower with a slender, rather weak, stem often supporting itself against other species. Some of its traits remind one of the Columbine, to which it is closely related, but it lacks the hardy qualities of that species. The flowers are quite large and handsome; they grow in a loose, few-flowered raceme. The five sepals are very unequal in size and shape; the upper one is large and hood-like, and conceals two small petals within it; it has three to five pistils, numerous stamens and three other abortive petals. The leaves are firm, three to five-lobed and notched, on slender petioles. It grows in rich, moist woods from Pa. southwards, flowering from June to September.
It is always with a feeling of ecstacy that we find or hear the first reported blooming of the Reratica, each year; its coming is the first sign of the breaking up of winter. If we except the early-flowering Skunk Cabbage, and many refuse to consider this at all as a flower, the beautiful Hepatica is the first of our flowers to appear. It is seemingly well clad for low temperatures, for its stems are thickly covered with fuzzy hairs; the three-lobed, smooth-edged leaves are rather thick and coarse, lasting though the winter but turning a ruddy color, while the new ones, that appear with the buds, are light green and radiate above the older prostrate ones. A single blossom appears at the end of each long fuzzy scape; it is about one inch broad, has five to ten pale pur ple or lilac sepals and numerous greenish pisals and yellow anthers; they have a slight fragance.
Hepaticas grow in small spories, blooming from March to May in open winds strom N. S to Manitoba and southwards.
May Apple; Mandrake. Podophyllum peltatum.
Mandrake; May Apple (Podophyllum Peltatum) belongs to the Barberry Family (Berberida-ceae), a small family of shrubs or herbs, divided into five genera of but one or two species each. The present species is quite common in rich woods, or in shady, moist ground, from western N. E. to Minn, and southwards, flowering in May. The bare stalk rises to heights of 10 to 12 inches, then branches into two long-stemmed, light green, large, spreading leaves; the latter are five to nine-parted, lobed, notched, and unevenly balanced. Prom the forked joint of the leaves, hangs a solitary white flower on a short, slender, curving peduncle; this is very delicate, nearly two inches across, and of six petals and twice as many stamens. Other non-flowering stalks bear at the summits, single, large, one-sided, divided leaves.
While the blossom of the May Apple yields no nectar, it is visited by bees in search of pollen and is chiefly fertilized through their agency. The fruit is large and lemon-shaped, yellow in color, ripening in July. It is the fruit that gives it the name of May Apple. It is also known as "Wild Lemon," quite an appropriate name if the fruit alone is considered. While the leaves and stem are poisonous, the fruit is not, but has a peculiar, acid, sickish flavor.