(Plate CXV II.)

Family

Colour

Yellow, red, or purple.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

General.

Time of Bloom

May-July.

Flowers: growing in a short, thick spike. Calyx: united and split down the front. Corolla: tubular; two-lipped, the upper lip helmet-shaped, the lower one erect and three-lobed. Stamens: four enclosed in the upper lip. Pistil: one. Seed pods: dagger-shaped. Leaves: those from the root deeply incised and cut; those near the flower, smaller and less cut; hairy. Stem: erect; hairy.

The wood-betony is another of the flowers that interest us by their irregularity and vigour of expression. The upper lip raises itself in the most self-asserting manner until it takes the whim to arch over. Two short teeth then hang down and form a striking likeness to the head of a walrus. The under lip, which is shorter, completes the resemblance by drooping. Occasionally the whole flower is of a deep rich purple; but usually the parts are differently coloured, the upper lip being purple and the lower one pale yellow. Again pale and dark clumps of the flowers will be found growing side by side. After the bloom has passed the plants are not pretty, as the fern-like leaves and pods are rather rough.

Fruit and calyx.

Fruit and calyx.

Unfortunately, the plant is not credited with possessing any especial virtue, and we have no reason to believe it is identical with the ancient betony of history.