A large family of shrubs or herbs with opposite or whorled leaves having entire edges. The flowers are regular, perfect and usually four-parted, with the same number of stamens as divisions to the corolla. The family includes the Coffee Plant and the Peruvian bark trees.
These are very dainty and beautiful little plants that decorate our fields profusely from April until July. They frequently grow in such large patches that, from a distance, the ground appears as though covered with snow of a bluish or pale violet shade. The stems are very slender, about 3 to 6 inches tall, and have a few pairs of tiny leaves; larger leaves appear in tufts from the base. Usually each stem bears but a single four-parted blossom at the top. The perianth is slender and the lobes flare widely; the corolla is about one half inch in width, - white, with the ends of the lobes pale blue or violet, and stained with yellow towards the center of the flower. They are cross-fertilized by small bees and little butterflies. The species is very abundant from N. S. to Manitoba and southwards to the Gulf.
A. Bluets; Innocence.
B. Partridge Vine; Twinberry.
Partridgeberry (Mitchella Repens) is a most beautiful little trailing vine with rounded, opposite, white-veined leaves along the creeping stem, that extends 6 to 12 inches from the root. Two beautiful little four-parted, bell-shaped flowers terminate each branch. They are downy white within, and pinkish and smooth on the outside. They have a fragrance similar to that of the Water Lily. A double, red berry replaces the flowers in the Pall; at this season, the plants are collected extensively for use in ferneries, as their leaves are evergreen. It is common in woods throughout our range.
Bedstraws (Gallium) have weak, square, bristly stems, tiny four-parted flowers and whorled leaves.