(Plate LXIV.)

Family

Gentian.

Colour

Brilliant blue, or white.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Mostly north and west.

Time Of Bloom

September, October.

Flowers; terminal; solitary. Calyx: of four unequal, pointed sepals. Co-rolla: funnel-form; two inches broad; with four rounded lobes exquisitely fringed at the edges. Stamens: four; with glands at the bases of the filaments. Pistil; one, with two stigmas. Leaves; opposite; lanceolate; clasping; sharply pointed. Stem; one to two feet high.

Something preliminary is almost necessary before venturing to speak of the fringed gentian; and even then it should be done with bated breath, for is it not the flower that has inspired poets and statesmen to such an extent that they have barely been able to write soberly about it ? And truly it is a heavenly flower. But to those that are a bit worldly and have not the poetical soul it must always suggest that it has been gowned by nature's Worth; it is so chaussee a ravir. The beautiful fringe is but the latest conceit of fashion; and the soft green of its calyx, blending with its incomparable blue, is an example of the most ravishing taste. If we could indulge in such levity, we would almost look up its sleeves for hors de combat. That it enjoys its good clothes we may be sure. It is a gay, delightful creature and sheds about its blandishments in the most open-hearted manner. It is fond of wandering, too, and though we mark the spot where it grows we may seek in vain for it in the same place the next year. This characteristic, however, it owes to being a biennial. At night the fair flower closes.