Plant with an acrid, milky juice, entire, exstipulatc, mostly opposite leaves. Flowers 5-parted, regular, the calyx persistent, the corolla twisted in aestivation. Stamens 5, with distinct filaments, anthers filled with granular pollen. Ovaries 2, distinct, but their stigmas blended into a head-shaped mass. Fruit 1 to 2 follicles, or capsular or baccate, with albuminous seeds.
Genera 9:1, species 700, chiefly tropical.
Properties - These plants possess active and often suspicious qualities residing in the white juice with which the order is pervaded, and in the seeds which are often deadly poisons. The alkaloid strychnine or strychnia, one of the most violent poisons is the active principle of the seeds of the Strychnos Nux-vomica of India. It is sometimes administered as a medicine, but with doubtful success. S. Tieute of Java is one kind of Upas. Cerbera Tanghin, a tree of Madagascar, is powerfully poisonous, a single seed being sufficient to destroy twenty persons. The Apo-cyneae are emetic, and becoming highly valued in hydrocephalus, etc. The juice contains caoutchouc in small quantities, but in Sumatra this is obtained largely from the juice of Urceola elastica.
a Herbs erect, with bell - shaped, whitish corollas and silky seeds.........................
a Herbs erect, with funnel - form, blue corolla and naked seeds.............................
a Herbs twining, with funnel - form, yellow corolla and silky seeds.....................
b Shrubs (cultivated) with the corolla throat 5 - angled, crownless................
b Shrubs (cultivated) with the corolla throat crowned with 5 ligules..............
1. APOC'YNUM, Tourn. Dog's-bane. (Gr. away, dog;
Pliny says this plant is fatal to dogs.) Calyx very small; corolla cam" panulate, lobes short; stamens included; filaments short, arising from the base of the corolla, and alternate with 5 glandular teeth; anthers sagittate, connivent, cohering to the stigma by the middle; ova. 2; stigmas connate; follicles long, sublinear, distinct. - Herbs, suffrutes-cent, erect, with opposite, entire, mucronate lvs. Cymes terminal and axillary. Pedicels not longer than the pale flowers.
1 A. androsaemifolitim L. Dog's-bane. Smooth; lvs. ovate; cymes lateral and terminal; limb of cor. spreading, the tube longer than the calyx. - A smooth, elegant plant, 3f high, in hedges and borders of fields. Stem reddened by the sun, erect, branching above. Leaves dark green above, paler beneath, opposite, rounded at base and acute at apex, 2 - 3' long and 2/3 as wide, on petioles 1/4' long. Cymes paniculate, at the top of the branches and in the axils of the upper leaves. Pedicels 1/3' long. Cal. much shorter than the corolla. Cor. as long as the pedicels, bell-shaped, white, striped with red, with 6, acute, spreading segments. Follicles 3 to 4' long. Jn., Jl. - Medicinal. β. incanum. Lvs. hoary- pubescent beneath. A. cannabinum L. Smooth; lvs. oblong, varying from oval to lance-oblong, mu-cronate, short petiolate; cal. lobes lanceolate, about equaling the corolla tube; cor. lobes erect. - In shady soils, Can. to Ga. and Ark. Plant widely branched, 2 to 4f high. Lvs. smaller and thicker than in No. 1, 2 to 4' long, 6 to 16 ' wide, usually rounded at base and acute at apex, often obtuse or acute at both ends, the petioles 1 to 3" long. Fls. in dense, upright cymes, and not as large as in No. 1. Cor. white, with erect segments, hardly 2" long. Follicles 3' long. Jn. - Aug. β. pubescens. Lvs. beneath and cymes pubescent (A. pubeseens R. Br.) γ. HYPERCIFOLUM. Lvs. narrowly oblong, subsessile, smooth; ova. inclining to ovate-oblong; cymes generally longer than the leaves. (A. hyperici-folia Ait.)
2. AMSONIA, Walt. (To Charles Amson, of S. Carolina?) Calyx 5-cleft, segments acuminate; cor. 5-cleft, tube narrowly funnel-form, bearded inside, hispid, at throat, segments linear convolute in bud; stamens 5; style 1; ovaries 2, connate at base; follicles 2, erect, slender, fusiform; seeds in one row, cylindric. truncate at each end, naked. - Lvs. alternate, entire, subsessile. Cymes terminal, corymbous, Fls. blue.
1 A. Tabernsemontana Walt, Lvs. ovate-lanceolale, acuminate, acute at base, briefly petiolate, puberulent beneath; margin slightly revolute; sep. glabrous, lanceolate, acuminate; cor. woolly outside near the top of the tube. - A plant of singular appearance, in prairies and damp grounds, W. and S. States. Stem terete, smoothish, 2f high, branched above. Leaves numerous, 3 - 4' by 1 - -1 1/2 conspicuously veined beneath. Flowers pale or livid blue, in several terminal, cymous clusters. Corolla 8" diam., very hairy at top of tube. Follicles in pairs, 2 - 3' long, about 6-seeded. May, June. (A. latifolia Mx.)
2 A. salicifolia Ph. Very glabrous and lance-elliptic, acuminate at each end, conspicuously petiolate; cal. segm. triangular acute; cor. tube glabrous outside or more or less woolly. - In damp soils, Tenn., Car. to S. Ga. and borders of Fla. Plant 12 to 18' high. Lvs. but half as large as in No. 1, 2 to 3' by 6 to 9". Cyme3 terminal, short-stalked. Cor. blue, formed as in the other species. May, Jn. - Varies with the leaves more or less pubescent when young, and the cor, tube woolly. Always more delicate than No. 1.
3 A. ciliata Walt. Lvs. approximate of crowded, lance-linear and linear, often very narrow, margins ciliate; st. pubescent, leafless above; clusters corymbous, at length paniculately branched; cor. glabrous outside. - Sandy soils, dry and moist, Car. and Ga., common. Sts. 1 to 2f high. Lvs. 18" to 2' long, 1 to 3" wide, sometimes much narrower than l", almost filiform. Fls. light blue, as in the other species, 6" long. β. Filifolia, growing on sandy hills, has the long pedunculate inflorescence paniculate. Apr., May. (A. angustifolia Mx.)
3. FORSTERO'NIA, Meyer. (Dedicated to T. F. Forster, an English botanist.) Calyx segments 5, ovate; corolla funnel-form, not appen-daged, deeply 5-cleft, lobes convolute (to the left) in bud; anthers sagittate, adherent to the stigma, the membranous tip inflexed; stigma 2-lobed at apex, 5-angled in the middle; follicles 2, distinct, spreading, glabrous; seeds many, comous. - Twining shrubs, with opposite, petiolate lvs. and cymes of small fls.
F. difformis DC. Branches smooth; lvs. oval and lance-oval, abruptly acuminate, acute at base, thin, glabrous above, puberulent beneath when young; cymes pedunculate, axillary and terminal, as long as the leaves; cal. segm. long acuminate from an ovate base. - Damp or swampy grounds, Va. to Fla., climbing over shrubs. Lvs. varying from elliptical to nearly orbicular, 1 to 2' broad. Cor. 3 to 4" long, pale yellow. Stam. included. May - Aug.
4. VIN'CA, L. Periwinkle. (Lat. vinculum, a band; from the long, twining branches.) Calyx 5-parted, segments acuminate; corolla funnel or salver-form, convolute, border 5-cleft, with the lobes oblique, orifice 5-angled; 2 glands at the base of the ovary; follicles 2, erect, fusiform; seeds oblong. - Trailing shrubs. Lvs. opposite, evergreen. Juice slightly milky.
1 V. minor L. Sts. procumbent; lvs. elliptic-lanceolate, smooth at the margins; fls. pedunculate; seps. lanceolate. - A handsome evergreen, flowering in May. Sts. several feet in length, round, smooth and leafy. Leaves opposite, smooth and shining, about an inch long. Flowers solitary, axillary, alternate, violet, varying to purple or even white, inodorous. † Eur.
2 V. major L. Sts. nearly erect; lvs. ovate, ciliate; fls. pedunculate; sep.
setaceous, elongated. - Shrub with numerous, slender, straggling branches, very leafy, forming light masses of evergreen foliage, flourishing best beneath the shade of other plants. Leaves 2 to 3' in length, shining, rounded or somewhat cordate at base. Flowers blue, appearing in May and June, † Eur.
5. NE'RIUM, L. Oleander. (Gr. damp; referring to the locality of the plants.) Calyx with 5 teeth at the base outside of the corolla; corolla hypocrateriform, segments contorted, orifice with a corona consisting of 5, laciniate leaflets; filaments inserted into the middle of the tube; anthers sagittate, adhering to the stigma by the middle. - Oriental shrubs. Lvs. evergreen, opposite or ternate.
N. Oleander L. Lvs. lanceolate, acute at each end; corona segm. of 3 to 4 lance-acuminate teeth. - In the greenhouse and shrubberies. St. regularly branched. Lvs. commonly 3 together, on short stalks, smooth, very entire, coriaceous, with prominent, transverse veins beneath. Fls. terminal, corymbeus, large and beautiful rose-colored. One variety has white flowers, another variegated, and a third double. This splendid shrub is common in Palestine (Rev. S. Hebard), growing by rivulets, etc. It is supposed to be the plant to which the Psalmist alludes, Ps. i. 3, and xxxvii. 35.