Leaves, when bruised, like balsam.
Maine southward and westward.
Flowers: occurring in two forms; the early blossoms large; solitary, with five petals; the later ones small and axillary. Calyx: of the early flowers; of five sepals, two larger than the others and appearing like bracts. Corolla: of five, or more early-falling petals. Stamens: numerous; in the later blossoms, three to ten. Pistil: one; stigma, three-lobed. Leaves: opposite, becoming alternate as they ascend the stem; lanceolate; pubescent underneath. Stem: erect; branched; pubescent.
As is the case with many families the frost-weed raises two sets of children. The first, which unfold in July, are large, solitary and open in the sunshine only. The next day they droop their petals and die. They resemble closely an evening primrose. Perhaps the plant finds them too luxurious and delicate as offsprings; for later in the season, in August and September, it blooms again, and numerous smaller blossoms appear in the axils of the leaves. They are quite different in aspect from their brothers and sisters that have gone on before, and are with or without petals. The plant, however, is hardly mis-takable, especially in November, when ice crystals fantastic and whimsical in shape burst open the bark and rear themselves on high. These are supposed to be the sap of the plant, which accumulates moisture and then freezes.