This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Native. Perennial. Propagates by seeds.
Time of bloom: July to September.
Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Massachusetts to South Carolina, Kansas, and Louisiana.
Habitat: Lowland meadows, fence rows, and borders of woods.
The knotted roots of this plant have long been reputed a cure for scrofula, piles, and other diseases, and are salable in the drug-market. The time for collecting is in autumn, when the summer's growth has stored the roots for winter's sustenance.
Stem erect, slender, four-angled, smooth except for the glandular hairs on its flower stalks, usually much branched, often purplish red in color, three to eight feet tall. Leaves three inches to a foot in length, opposite, dark green, ovate, long-pointed, saw-toothed, with prominent veins and long, slender petioles. Flowers in long, open, leafless panicles at the summit of the stem and the branches; corolla about a quarter-inch long, dull green outside, glossy purple within, with spreading lower lip and upper one erect, two pairs of fertile stamens of unequal length and a sterile
Fig. 265. - Maryland Fig-wort . (Schrophularia mari-landica). X 1/4 fifth one, reduced to a purple scale on the roof of the corolla tube; calyx five-cleft, with rounded lobes. Capsule ovoid, thin, papery, two-celled, opening at the top. Seeds many, small, rough, dull brown. (Fig. 265.)
S. leporella, Bicknell, is a closely related plant, differing in having more coarsely toothed leaves, and flowers with corolla more contracted at the throat, the sterile stamen greenish yellow; it is even more frequent on hillsides and brushy pasture. Range from Connecticut to Minnesota, southward to Nebraska and North Carolina.
The roots may be killed by persistent cutting, aided by salt or carbolic acid on the cut surfaces. Or they may be grubbed out or pulled when the ground is soft, and perhaps sold for enough to pay for the trouble of their extraction.