This section is from the book "Nature's Garden", by Neltje Blanchan. Also available from Amazon: Nature's Garden; An Aid To Knowledge Of Our Wild Flowers And Their Insect Visitors.
Flowers - Straw color or greenish yellow, less than 1 in. long, 3 to 6 nodding on slender pedicels from the summit of a leafless scape 6 to 15 in. tall. Perianth of 6 spreading divisions, the 6 stamens attached; style, 3-lobed. Leaves: Dark, glossy, large, oval to oblong, 2 to 5 (usually 3), sheathing at the base.
To name canals, bridges, city thoroughfares, booming factory towns after De Witt Clinton seems to many appropriate enough; but why a shy little woodland flower? As fitly might a wee white violet carry down the name of Theodore Roosevelt to posterity! "Gray should not have named the flower from the Governor of New York," complains Thoreau. "What is he to the lovers of flowers in Massachusetts? If named after a man, it must be a man of flowers." So completely has Clinton, the practical man of affairs, obliterated Clinton, the naturalist, from the popular mind, that, were it not for this plant keeping his memory green, we should be in danger of forgetting the weary, overworked governor, fleeing from care to the woods and fields; pursuing in the open air the study which above all others delighted and refreshed him; revealing in every leisure momenta too-often forgotten side of his many-sided greatness.