This is a numerous genus of plants, of which there are found in the United States about twenty species. Many of them are cultivated in England as ornamental plants, and, in an extensive collection, they should be brought into the flower-garden here; and a few of them in any collection, however small.
The following are some of the species which may be found in New England. Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 13, are some of the most ornamental, and may be transplanted to gardens soon after flowering. They are all perennials.
"1. Venosa - has leaves elegantly variegated with white and crimson veins, and the stems terminate in an umbel of pale, flesh-colored flowers.
"2. Pulchra, - Water-Silk-Weed, - has nearly erect stems, four or five feet high; umbels very small; flowers crimson-purple. Grows on low, wet land, by the side of ponds.
"3. Variegata - Variegated. - Leaves rough, umbels compact, and coming out from the side of the stalk; flowers of a pleasant odor.
"4. Nivea. - White, or Almond-leaved. - Stalks two feet high, and of a dark green. Leaves deep green above, and pale beneath, smooth and rather stiff. Flowers green, with white nectaries.
"5. Incarnata, - Flesh-colored, - has several upright stalks about two feet high, at the top of which are produced close umbels of purple flowers; blooms in August.
"6. Dpcumbens. - The stalks are declining, hairy, a foot and a half high; leaves narrow; umbels compact, at the extremity of the branches; flowers a bright orange color.
"7. Verticillata. - Stalks slender, upright; umbels at the extremity of the stems; leaves in whorls of four, five, and six together; flowers small and of a greenish-white color. Found in Koxbury and Dedham; blooms in July.
"8. Tuberosa. - Butterfly-weed. - Root large, fleshy, branching and somewhat fusiform, but it is only by comparison with' other species that it can be called tuberous; stems numerous, growing in bunches from the root, hairy and dusky red; flowers numerous, erect, and of a beautiful bright orange color; grows in Woburn and Newton; blooms in August.
"9. Obtusifolia. - Blunt-leaved. - Stems erect, supporting a terminal umbel, at a distance from the leaves, which are opposite, ovate, heart-shaped at the base; flowers large, of a greenish-white, tinged with red; it is found in Cambridge and Mount Auburn; blooms in July.
"10. Phytoloccoides. - Poke-leaved. - A tall, large-flowering species, of a delicate appearance; stem erect, four or five feet high; leaves large; umbels nodding, flowers large, petals green, nectaries white or flesh-colored; grows in low grounds; blooms in June.
"11. Purpurescens. - Dark-flowered. - Stem erect; flowers of a dark crimson purple; grows in Cambridge and Newton, bat is rare.
"12. Quadrifolia. - Four-leaved. - A delicate species, growing in dry woods; stem about a foot high; flowers flesh-colored; is found in Roxbury and Brookline, and blooms in June.
"13. Amonea. - Oval-leaved. - Stalks from a foot and a half to three feet high; at each point are two large leaves, which are thickish, stiff, smooth, with purple nerves; umbels rise from the stalk and some of the upper axils; flowers of a bright red color.
"14. Syriaca. - Milk-weed, or Silk-weed. - This species abounds all over our country, and, for the many useful nurposes to which it may be applied, is deserving of attention.
The flowers of the Asclepias are produced in umbels; all are very attractive to the butterfly family and other beautiful insects, and for this reason a few species should be introduced into the garden.