* Polemonium coeruleum - Plate 16 B.
The Convolvulaceous family must be known to every one, being rendered familiar in our gardens by the fine exotic genus Pharbitis, which contains the annual Convolvulus major of the seed-shops; in our hedges by the Common or Larger Bindweed (Calystegia sepium), whose large white bells are so beautiful as almost to plead an excuse for the intrusion of so really troublesome a weed as this is generally held to be; and in our cornfields and waysides by the Lesser Bindweed,* which is the subject of our illustration. This little prostrate plant has a slender perennial rootstock, which creeps extensively underground; from this grow out numerous trailing slender steins, which either spread on the surface or reach a couple of feet or so in height by twining up the stems of the corn plants and other herbage about them: "although the field is bare, fringing the path, or scattered near, a few neglected ears we find, round which Convolvulus hath twined." They have alternate ovately arrow-shaped or sometimes hastate leaves, from the axils of which grow the usually two-flowered peduncles. These flowers, which are fragrant, and close at night and in dull weather, have five small blunt sepals; a bell-shaped corolla an inch or more in diameter, beautifully variegated with pink and white, or sometimes cream-coloured nearly white; five stamens attached near the base of the corolla; and a simple style with two linear stigmatic lobes. The ovary is two-celled, - the cells two-seeded, - and is surrounded by an annular hypogynous disk having the appearance of a fleshy ring around its base. This plant has the property of expanding its gaily-coloured blossoms in the sunshine, and closing them at the approach of night: "As the sun retires in seas of gold, Though yet thy twining stem, where'er it grows, Hanging in rich festoons, no langour shows, Thy fragile cup its beauties doth enfold, To shun the damp and coldness of the night, Until awakened by the orb of light."
* Convolvulus arvensis - Plate 16 C.
Of the Boraginaceous family we have a familiar and lovely example in "that blue and bright-eyed floweret of the brook, Hope's gentle gem, the sweet Forget-me-not," or the Water Scorpion-grass,*" so commonly met with "by rivulet or spring or wet roadside." The name 'Forget-me-not' is said to have originated in this manner: - Two betrothed lovers were strolling by the banks of the Danube, on a pleasant summer evening in the flowery month of June, occupied in agreeable and affectionate converse, when they observed the pretty flower of the Water Scorpion-grass apparently floating on the water. The bride elect looked upon the flower with admiration, and supposing it to be detached, regarded it as being carried to destruction. Her lover, regretting its fate and wishing to preserve it, jumped into the river with this object; but as he seized the flower, he sank beneath the stream. Making a final effort, he threw the flower upon the bank, repeating, as he was sinking for the last time, the words Ver-giss mich nicht. Hence the Germans have called the flower by a name which we translate 'Forget-me-not' "That name! it speaks in accents dear Of love and hope and joy and fear; It softly tells an absent friend That links of love should never rend; Its whispers waft on swelling breeze, O'er hill and dale, by land and seas, Forget-me-not!"
This pretty Myosotis is a perennial herb, with stems more or less creeping, and rooting at the base, and then ascending, from half a foot to a foot and a half in height, angular owing to the prominent decurrent lines which pass down from the margins of the leaves, and generally more or less pubescent or hairy, but sometimes nearly smooth. The leaves are oblong, bluntish, smooth, or with hairs appressed to the surface, and borne alternately along the stems. The flowers grow in incurved, one-sided, or, as they are technically termed, scorpioid racemes, which are very frequently forked, and gradually straighten as the flowers are developed, the lowest flower opening first, and the rest in succession towards the point. They consist of a small five-toothed or five-cleft calyx, and a salver-shaped monopetalous regular corolla, of which the tube is short as well as straight and narrow, and half-closed at its mouth by five short scaly appendages, while the limb is spreading and somewhat concave; inserted on the corolla-tube are five short stamens, and enclosed within its base is a deeply four-lobed ovary, having a simple style inserted between the lobes, which ultimately become hard shelly seed-like fruits, called nuts, surrounded by the persistent calyx. The flowers are of a pretty clear light or azure blue, with a golden-yellow centre.
* Myosotis palustris - Plate 18 A.
It has been remarked of this plant, which constantly grows in wet places, that affectionate remembrance will always moisten the eye of sensibility, and hence no dry habitat can be allowed to the Forget-me-not. Mr. Lees relates of a nearly allied plant, the M. repens, which grows in swamps and quaking bogs, that it was once forcibly impressed upon his recollection, thus: perceiving it blooming in the midst of a bog, on the bleak deceptive sides of Plinlimmon, he dashed after it, but received only a cool reception from the beauty, though his knees bent before her dripping shrine, and after all he retired with but a very inadequate specimen of the favours she had, at first, appeared so disposed to offer.
Another regular-flowered group of perigynous Monopetals is the Solanaceous family, our illustration of which is the Bitter-sweet,* a deleterious plant, for which it is to be regretted that Mr. Bentham has used the name Deadly Nightshade, thus diverting from the much more virulent Atropa Belladonna, to which this premonitory title properly belongs, the caution which is necessary to prevent poisoning, by means of its really tempting-looking, but deadly cherry-like black berries. The Bitter-sweet is a shrubby plant, with straggling branches, often growing to a considerable height, but being killed back for some distance by the frosts of winter. These bear alternate leaves, which are of variable shape, sometimes ovate or ovate-lanceolate, broadly cordate at the base and entire, sometimes with the base angular on one side or unequally on both sides, or sometimes with a small lobe or segment on one or both sides at the base; they are also sometimes quite smooth and sometimes downy. The flowers are produced in loose cymes, terminating short lateral peduncles, and they consist individually of a five-toothed calyx, a rotate five-lobed star-shaped purple corolla, and five stamens which are united into an erect cone around the simple prolonged style, each anther opening by a small pore at the top. The fruit is a small roundish red berry, containing several seeds.