[Name from a Greek word, signifying milk, because one sort is used for the purpose of curdling milk.]
The stems of all the species are four-cornered, and the leaves in whorls; the flowers generally axillary, but sometimes panicled.
Galium verum, Petit Muget in French, is called Bed Straw, from the verb to strew, strow, or straw; being one among a variety of odoriferous herbs, which were frequently used to strew beds with. The genus contains many indigenous species, but none are worthy of cultivation, except G. boreale, which is upright, growing about two feet high, bearing innumerable minute white flowers, in terminal panicles; the stems are very much branched, leaves delicate and small; perennial; in flower in July, August, and September. It is valuable only in the composition of bouquets.
[Name from the Greek, for superb.]
This plant, which is from Texas, is one of the finest that we have received for many years. The flowers are formed by a calyx, in four divisions, colored with red, petals of a flesh-colored white, which contrast agreeably with the lively color of the calyx; there are eight light stamens, with purple anthers.
It flowers on numerous branches, which form a large panicle, and continue in blossom from June until the frost comes. The stems are straight, growing from two to three feet in height, furnished with linear leaves, forming an elegant, although rather a slender plant; large lanceolate leaves clustered in a tuft at the base of the plant.
It is a perennial, and should be sown in May or June, like other plants of this class, so as to flower the following year. It seems to be hardy, having stood in the open ground, with a little protection, through the winter; it may also be cultivated as an annual, for, if sown in April, it will begin to flower in July.
The Gaura Iindheimeri, will probably soon become very common in our gardens; it can be grown in beautiful masses; its flowers are very fine for bouquets, and, above all, it commends itself to us for its long continued flowering.
[Supposed to have been so called from a Greek word signifying riches, in allusion to the splendor of the flowers.]
A native of the Cape of Good Hope. A very beautiful summer and autumn-flowering evergreen bedding plant of a neat, dwarf, shrubby, trailing, yet compact habit, with oblong-spathulate leaves, deep glossy green on the upper side, and almost pure white on the lower side, with a rich green mid-rib running the whole length of the leaf; and numerous large, golden yellow, Aster-like flowers, three to four inches in diameter, picturesquely marked at the base of each petal with converging cloud-like spots of a rich, dark-brown, chocolate tint upon a black base, and these are again marked with white spots upon their disk or surface.
The union of these rich colors produces a highly ornamental effect; the blossoms, when fully expanded, are so brilliant, that the most accurate description fails to convey an adequate impression of their beauty. It is well adapted for large groups or medium sized beds, or for pot culture in vases, as portable specimens in flower-garden decoration, thriving in all ordinary rich garden soils, not subject to the attacks of mildew, thrip, or spider, and yielding a succession of bloom from June until November.
[So called from Gentius, King of Illyria.)
The Gentians are very numerous; they are very difficult to preserve in gardens, and the European varieties are not much known in this country, although there are some beautiful alpine species cultivated in Europe.
A very fine indigenous plant, distinguished by its large purple flowers, which are so nearly closed at the top as to resemble buds; sometimes the flowers are white and variegated. It is found in moist woods and by the margin of streams. It may be transplanted to the garden without difficulty; it grows one and one-half to two feet high; in flower in September and October.
This Gentian is exceeded by few native plants, in the delicacy and beauty of its flowers. The stems are divided toward the top into several erect branches. The leaves are opposite, ovate-lanceolate, smaller than in G. Saponaria. Flowers erect on the ends of the branches. Segments of the corolla of a deep fine purple, fringed at the end, expanded in the sun, erect and twisted at other times; one foot high. Found in bloom in moist places in September and October. This is a very difficult plant to remove successfully; probably the only way to propagate it, is by seed, but it flowers so late I have never found the seed ripe enough to vegetate. It is a great pity that it cannot be cultivated, for it is one of our handsomest indigenous plants.