The Plumbaginaceous family, represented by the Common Thrift,† belongs to this same regular-flowered series. This well-known plant, a sea-side resident, and frequently used as an edging plant in gardens, is a perennial of tufted habit, producing numerous narrow-linear, almost grass-like leaves, from among which the flowering stems, simple and leafless, grow up to the height of from three or four to six or eight inches, and terminate in a round head of numerous flowers, these flowers being intermixed with scarious or dry membrane-like scales, of which the outer series form themselves into a kind of involucre, and the two outermost of all are lengthened below their insertion, so as to form a sheath around the upper part of the stalk. The flowers are pink, sometimes varying to white or deep rose-pink. They have a tubular funnel-shaped calyx, of a dryish scarious texture, with a petal-like; border crowned by five short slender teeth, and a five-lobed corolla, of which the lobes are scarcely united in the lower parts, so that the plants are barely monopetalous; there are besides, five stamens, and a one-celled ovary surmounted by five simple styles, which are hairy in the lower part.
* Solarium Dulcamara - Plate 16 D. † Armeria maritima - Plate 18 C.
In dry limestone pastures will be seem numerous in many localities, rosulate tufts of broad-ovate leaves, spreading close to the ground, and producing from among them upright spikes of insignificant flowers. These are the Plantains, representatives of the Plantaginaceous family, another group of regular-flowered perigynous Monopetals. The Hoary Plantain* has the leaves ovate sessile, their surface hoary from the presence of numerous whitish downy hairs, and marked with five or seven longitudinal ribs; they spread in a compact tuft close to the ground. The flowers are in cylindrical spikes, one to two inches long, closely packed, the spikes terminating simple leafless scapes or flower-stalks, which issue from among the rosette of root-leaves, and rise six or eight inches high. These flowers consist of a calyx of four sepals, a small whitish scarious corolla with a short tube and four spreading lobes, four much-protruded stamens with purplish anthers, a long simple style, and a two-celled ovary with two ovules in each cell. The longitudinal ribs in the leaves of these plants are peculiar, and have procured the name of Ribwort for one of the species.
* Plantago media - Plate 18 D.
Of the irregular-flowered perigynous Monopetals we find an illustration in the Scrophulariaceous family, here represented by the Purple Foxglove,* a flower commonly met with on dry hilly wastes, by the forest side, and along the banks of sandy lanes. In situations such as these, "the Foxglove rears its pyramid of bells, gloriously freckled." The plant is a biennial, that is to say, it springs up and forms a tuft of leaves one season, and shoots up its flowering stem the following year, and then perishes. The leaves which are produced in the first year are rather large long-stalked coarsely-veined and downy, of an ovate or ovate-lanceolate figure, and from their midst springs the erect flowering-stem of from two to four feet high, having a few shortly-stalked leaves on the lower part, and terminating in a long, stately, pyramidal, one-sided raceme of purple flowers, which are hairy and beautifully spotted inside. These have a calyx of five unequal segments, and an oblique tubular corolla an inch and a half long, contracted above the base and then much inflated, the mouth oblique and having five lobes, of which four are short and the remaining lower one is about twice the length of the others. The stamens are four in number, didynamous, that is, ranging in two pairs, one pair being longer than the other. There is a simple style with a two-cleft stigma; and a two-celled ovary becoming a capsule, containing numerous seeds. The Purple Foxglove is one of the most beautiful of our wild-flowers.
Near to the Scrophulariaceous plants rank those of the Orobanchaceous family, represented by the Lesser Broomrape.* These are very singular plants, forming dwarfish herbs of a brownish or purplish colour, never green, the place of the leaves being occupied by dull-coloured scales. One of their leading peculiarities is that they grow parasitically on the roots of other plants; that is to say, instead of forming roots as most other plants do, to obtain their nutriment from the earth, the Broomrapes form a junction with the roots of certain selected plants growing near them, and derive their nourishment directly from those plants on which they fix themselves. The species here selected grows from six to nine inches or even a foot in height, the stem furnished with brownish scales below, and terminating in an oblong spike of dull bluish-purple flowers. The calyx is divided to the base on the upper side, and often also on the lower, so as to form two lateral sepals, which are usually two-cleft, the segments ending in long slender points. The corolla is tubular and curved, hairy outside, with a two-lipped limb of five rounded lobes, and having the four stamens, which form two pairs, fixed to its inner surface near the base; the anthers of these stamens have the cells pointed at the lower end, and the style is simple with a two-lobed stigma. These curious plants, in consequence of the total absence of green, and the dull brownish hue, might when growing be readily mistaken for dead flowers.
* Digitalis purpurea - Plate 17 A.
The Labiate or Lamiaceous plants form another family, and a prominent one too, of irregular-flowered perigynous Mo-nopetals. They are generally remarkable for aromatic properties, as in the Mint, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, etc., and include the splendid Salvia of our greenhouses and many handsome border flowers. These Salvias or Sages, which are a very numerous group, are represented among our field plants by the Meadow Sage,* a perennial with a root-tuft of stalked ovate-oblong leaves, which are coarsely toothed and much wrinkled, and a flower-stem from a foot to a foot and a half high, furnished with a few smaller leaves near its base. The flowers grow 1n a handsome elongated terminal spike, in which they are arranged in whorls at short intervals. They have a two-lipped calyx, the upper lip of which is split into three small teeth, and the lower one cleft in two divisions. The corolla is remarkably irregular in form; it is much longer than the calyx, and of a rich deep purple-blue, two-lipped (whence the name labiate or lipped), the upper lip long arched and convex, the lower spreading three-lobed, with the side lobes minute, and the middle one large notched at the point. The stamens are two in number and of peculiar form. Usually a stamen consists of a slender thread called the filament, and a small oblong case (the anther), consisting of two cells held together by a central part called the connective, to which the top of the filament is attached. This part, the connective, is usually small and unnoticeable, but in the Salvia it is very much enlarged, the real filament is short, while the connective is long and slender, having a filament-like appearance, forming-two unequal arms, and bearing one of the anther-cells, a perfect one, at the end of the longer arm, and a smaller cell, usually deformed, on the shorter arm. The ovary is four-lobed, with an erect ovule in each lobe, and from between these lobes grows the slender style, shortly cleft at top into two stigmatic branches. The four lobes become separated into four small seed-like nuts, which are enclosed in the permanent calyx. The plant is rare in England. A commoner species, Salvia Verbenaca, also bears purple flowers, but they are smaller in proportion to the other parts.