(Plate L V.)
Summer and early autumn.
Flowers: large; solitary, or clustered. Calyx: urn-shaped; four-cleft and turning dull red later in the season. Stamens: eight, with long, graceful, curving anthers. Pistil: one. Leaves: opposite; lanceolate; sessile; ribbed; finely toothed and hairy. Stem: six to twelve inches high; square.
In beauty few of our meadow flowers can compare with this one, which is truly a belle among all others. Perhaps its companions smile a little and shrug their shoulders at its having the same delicacy and grace of a tropical, carefully tended plant. But it is one that should never be taken away from the setting that it has chosen for its own loveliness. It withers and turns black almost immediately after being plucked. As it uproots easily, it is often the case that those seeing it for the first time and being overcome with delight, tear it up ruthlessly and carry great quantities of it away. This thoughtlessness can hardly be denounced too strongly; and it is on the high road to exterminating some of our choicest species.