This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
A very beautiful and free-flowering plant, pretty generally cultivated, and well worthy of being so. The foliage alone is most attractive, with its brown and glaucous-green blotches; but the flowers, which are produced in great profusion in March and April, are no less attractive. There are two or three varieties - a deep rosy-purple one, and one with paler purple flowers, and a white-flowered one which is very pretty as a variety and contrast with the others. E. americanum is not so often to be met with in gardens as the preceding, but it is no less worthy of general cultivation. The leaves are more lanceolate in form, but are similarly marked with brown spots; the flowers are fully larger in size, and are yellow in colour. It flowers later than E. dens-canis, generally about the middle of April.