Flowers: crowded in a dense umbel-like cluster. Calyx: of five rounded lobes coloured like petals. Corolla: of five hood-shaped petals. Stamens: five. Pistil: one; stigma, three-lobed. Leaves; alternate on short petioles; oblong; triple-ribbed; serrated; downy underneath. A low shrub; one to three feet high. Root: bright red.
New Jersey tea is not so named because that much-abused State knows no other, or is especially partial to the use of red-root as a beverage; but because in Revolutionary times the little political difficulty that made tea rather scarce was felt less poignantly by thrifty housewives who had bags of its dried leaves hung in the garret. The root-bark is also known in medicine, and it yields a brown dye.