Stem. - Stout, three to five feet high. Leaves. - Alternate, large, woolly beneath, the upper partly clasping. Flower-heads. - Yellow, large, composed of both ray and disk-flowers.
When we see these great yellow disks peeping over the pasture walls or flanking the country lanes, we feel that midsummer is at its height. Flowers are often subservient courtiers, and make acknowledgment of whatever debt they owe by that subtlest of flatteries - imitation. Did not the blossoms of the dawning year frequently wear the livery of the snow which had thrown its protecting mantle over their first efforts? And these newcomers - whose gross, rotund countenances so clearly betray the results of high living - do not they pay their respects to their great benefactor after the same fashion? - with the result that a myriad miniature suns shine upward from meadow and roadside.
Plate LVI. Elecampane. - /. Selenium
The stout, mucilaginous root of this plant is valued by farmers as a horse-medicine, especially in epidemics of epizootic, one of its common names in England being horse-heal.
In ancient times the elecampane was considered an important stimulant to the human brain and stomach, and it was mentioned as such in the writings of Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine," over two thousand years ago.
The common name is supposed to be a corruption of a/a campania, and refers to the frequent occurrence of the plant in that ancient province of Southern Italy.