Native. Perennial. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: June to July. Seed-time: Ripe in September, but often persistent on the shrub until winter. Range: From Newfoundland to Hudson Bay and southward to Georgia. Habitat: Hillsides, pastures, and bogs.
Fig. 214.- Wild Carrot (Daucus Ca-rota). X 1/4.
Much loss is credited to this poisonous little plant when flocks are turned out to pasture in the spring. It does most damage when small, for animals are most likely to eat it when the shoots are young and tender and but a few inches above the ground. Children also have been poisoned by mistaking its first little pinkish leaves for young wintergreens (Gaultheria procumbens).
It is a shrub, six inches to nearly three feet tall, slender, with a few nearly erect branches and round, smooth twigs. Leaves evergreen, thick, smooth, entire-edged, pointed at both ends, dark green above, light green below, an inch to two inches long and a quarter-inch to a half-inch wide, with short petioles - about a third of an inch; they grow in opposing pairs or in whorls of three. Flowers beautiful, clustered on the sides of the twigs at the base of the season's new growth; they are small, five-lobed, saucer-shaped, bright pink or crimson in color, a little more than a quarter-inch broad, with thread-like pedicels a half-inch to an inch long. Each small saucer has around its sides tiny pockets into which the ten red anthers are tucked, the filaments of the stamens being bent like a spring. When these are touched by the tongues of foraging insects - or with a needle - the anthers are released with a snap, flinging out the pollen. Capsule five-celled, globose, about an eighth of an inch in diameter, with the thread-like, persistent style thrust out from a deep dimple in its apex. Seeds very small, round, and slightly flattened. (Fig. 215.)
Grub out or hand-pull the plants in the spring, when the soil is soft. Animals do not often eat the old shrubs, but those are the ones that bloom and fruit and bring on the dangerous young shoots. Cutting the plants causes them to sprout from the roots, unless prevented by the use of a strong herbicide such as caustic soda.
Fig. 215. - Narrow-leaved Laurel (Kalmia angusti-folia). X 1/3.