(Barberry Family.) Herbs (or shrubs), with alternate petiolate leaves. Sepals and petals in fours, sixes, or eights (except in the genus Podophyllum), with the petals in front of the sepals. Stamens (except in Podophyllum) as many as the petals, one before each. Anthers usually opening by a valve at the top. Fruit berry-like, or a pod.
* Petals and stamens 6.
1. Ber'beris. Shrub, with yellow wood and yellow flowers in drooping racemes. Stamens irritable. Petals 6, obovate, concave, each with two glandular spots inside at the base. Fruit a sour berry, oblong, scarlet.
2. Caulophyl'lum. A purplish herb, flowering in early spring.
Petals thick, much shorter than the sepals. Leaves decompound.
* * Petals 6-9. Stamens 8-18.
3. Podophyllum. Petals 6-9. Stamens 12-18. Anthers not opening by uplifting valves. Fruit a large berry. Leaves peltate.
4. Jefferso'nia. Petals and stamens mostly 8. Anthers opening by uplifting valves. Pod opening by a lid. Leaves divided in two.
B. vulga'ris, L. (Common Barberry.) Shrub. Leaves on the fresh shoots of the season mostly reduced to branched spines, from whose axils proceed the next year close clusters of obovate-oblong, bristly-toothed leaves, with short, jointed petioles, and many-flowered racemes. Sepals, petals and stamens 6 each. Outside of sepals are 2-6 bractlets. Petals yellow. Fruit an oblong, sour, scarlet berry. - Cultivated grounds.
C. thalietroi'des, Michx. (Blue Cohosh.) Plant 1-2 feet high, very glaucous and dull purple when young. Flowers yellowish-green, in a terminal small raceme, appearing in spring before the decompound leaves are developed. Sepals 6, with 3 little bractlets at their base. Petals 6, thick and somewhat kidney-shaped, much smaller than the sepals. Stamens 6, one before each petal. Ovary bursting soon after the flowering, and leaving the two drupe-like seeds naked on their rather thick stalks. Fruit bluish, 1/4 or an inch across. - Rich woods.
P. peltatum, L. Stem about 1 foot high. Flowerless stems with one large 7-9-lobed umbrella-like leaf, peltate in the centre; the flowering ones with two leaves, peltate near the edge, the flower nodding from the fork. Sepals 6, caducous. Petals 6-9, large and white. Stamens 12-18. Fruit large, oval, yellowish, not poisonous. - Found in patches in rich woods. The leaves and roots are poisonous.
J. diphyl'la, Pers. A low plant, flowering in early spring; the solitary white flowers on naked scapes. Sepals 4, fugacious. Petals 8. Stamens 8. Ovary pointed. Stigma 2-lobed. Pod pear-shaped, the top forming a lid. Leaves radical, long-petioled; the blades divided into two leaflets with the outer margins lobed. - Woods, chiefly in the western peninsula of Ontario.