This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, dis, twice, stylos, style; in reference to the two slender styles). Hamamelidaceae. Ornamental woody plants grown for their handsome evergreen foliage.
Evergreen trees or shrubs: leaves alternate, short-petioled, entire, or dentate, penninerved; stipules deciduous: flowers polygamous or dioecious, apetalous, in axillary racemes, subtended by small bracts; sepals 1-5, or wanting; stamens 2-8 with short filaments; pistillate flowers with a superior stellate-tomentose ovary, with 2 slender styles, with several stamens or without stamens: fruit a woody dehiscent caps., 2-celled, with 1 seed in each cell. - Six species in Japan, China, Himalayas and Java. Hardy only in warmer temperate regions. Prop, is by seeds and layers.
Sieb. & Zucc. Tall tree, in cult, usually shrubby: leaves elliptic to elliptic-oblong, sometimes obovate, acute or obtusish, narrowed at the base, dark green and lustrous above, paler beneath, glabrous, 1 1/4-3 in. long: racemes stellate-pubescent; anthers red: caps, ovoid, 2-pointed, tomentose, 1/2in. long. March, April. Japan. S.Z. 1:94. S.I.F. 2:25. IT. 3:113 The staminate flowers are conspicuous by the red color of their anthers. variety variegatum, Carr. Leaves bordered with yellowish white. - D. chinense, Hemsl. (D. race-mbsum variety chinense, Franch.), a shrub with oblong-obovate leaves 3/4-1 1/2 in. long and usually sparingly toothed above the middle from Cent. China is now possibly also in cultivation H.I. 29:2835. Alfred Rehder.
Dittany is an old English word which in England often means Dictamnus albus, a plant of the rue family. The name is supposed to be derived from Mt. Dicte, in Crete, where the ancient dittany grew. The Cretan dittany is supposed to be Origanum Dictamnus, a plant of the mint family, and of the same genus with the wild marjoram. The plant commonly called dittany in the eastern United States is Cunila origanoides, Brit. (C. Mariana, Linn.), another mint, native in dry lands. See Cunila. It has been used as a substitute for tea, and is a gentle aromatic stimulant. All these plants yield an oil used as a mild tonic.