Stem. - Slender, one or two feet high. Leaves. - Narrowly oblong, whorled in fours, fives, or sixes. Flowers. - Yellow, spotted or streaked with red, on slender, hair-like flower-stalks from the axils of the leaves. Calyx. - Five or six-parted. Corolla. - Very deeply five or six-parted. Stamens. - Four or five. Pistil. - One.
This slender pretty plant grows along the roadsides and attracts one's notice in June by its regular whorls of leaves and flowers. Linnaeus says that this genus is named after Lysim-achus, King of Sicily. Loosestrife is the English for Lysim-achus; but whether the ancient superstition that the placing of these flowers upon the yokes of oxen rendered the beasts gentle and submissive arose from the peace-suggestive title or from other causes, I cannot discover.
Plate XLVI. Four-Leaved Loosestrife. - L. quadrifolia