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Maddog Skullcap or Helmet-flower
Perhaps the most beautiful member of the genus is the Showy Skullcap (S. serrata), whose blue corolla, an inch long, has its narrow upper lip shorter than the spreading lower one.
Ground Ivy, Field Balm, and Creeping Charlie
Besides the larger flowers, containing both stamens and pistils, borne on this little immigrant, smaller female flowers, containing a pistil only, occur just as they do in thyme, mint, marjoram, and doubtless other members of the great family to which all belong.
Self-heal, Heal-all or Brunella
This humble, rusty green plant, weakly lopping over the surrounding grass, so that often only its insignificant purple, clover-like flower heads are visible, is another of those immigrants from the old countries.
American or Mock Pennyroyal, Tickweed, or Squaw Mint
However insignificant its flower, this common little plant unmistakably proclaims its presence throughout the neighborhood. So powerful is the pungent aroma of its leaves that dog doctors sprinkle them about freely in the kennels to kill fleas.
Wild or Creeping Thyme
Thyme is said to have been one of the three plants which made the Virgin Mary's bed. Indeed, the European peasants have as many myths as there are quotations from the poets about this classic plant. Its very name denotes that it was used as an incense in Greek temples.
Garden, Spear, or Mackerel Mint
Peppermint (M. piperita), similar in manner of growth to the preceding, is another importation from Europe now thoroughly at home here in wet soil. The volatile oil obtained by distilling its leaves has long been an important item of trade in Wayne County, New York.
Nightshade, Snake Berry, Poison-flower, or Woody Nightshade
More beautiful than the graceful flowers are the drooping cymes of bright berries, turning from green to yellow, then to orange and scarlet, in the tangled thicket by the shady roadside in autumn.
Blue or Wild Toadflax, Blue Linaria
Sometimes lying prostrate in the dust, sometimes erect, the linaria's delicate spikes of bloom wear an air of injured innocence; yet the plant, weak as it looks, has managed to spread over three Americas from ocean to ocean.
Maryland Figwort, Heal-all, Pilewort
An insignificant little flower by itself, conspicuous only because it rears itself in clusters on a level with one's eyes, lacking beauty, perfume, and all that makes a blossom charming to the human mind.
Hairy Beard-Tongue
While the beard-tongue commonly found in the Eastern United States, particularly southward, is one of the most beautiful of its clan, the western species have been selected by the gardeners for hybridizing into those more showy, but often less charming, flowers now quite extensively cultivated.
Blue-eyed Mary
Next of kin to the great Paulonia tree, whose deliciously sweet, vanilla-scented, trumpet-shaped violet flowers are happily fast becoming as common here as in their native Japan, what has this fragile, odorless blossom of the meadows in common with it?
No wader is the square-stemmed Monkey-flower whose grinning corolla peers at one from grassy tuffets in swamps, from the brookside, the springy soil of low meadows, and damp hollows beside the road.
American Brooklime
It was the germander speedwell that in literature and botanies alike was most commonly known as the forget-me-not for over two hundred years, or until only fifty years ago.
Common Speedwell; Fluellin; Paul's Betony; Ground-hele
One of the most common wild flowers in England is this same familiar little blossom of that lovely shade of blue known by Chinese artists as the sky after rain. The prettiest of all humble roadside flowers I saw, says Burroughs, in A Glance at British Wild Flowers.
Pale, or Naked, or One-flowered Broomrape
A curious, beautiful parasite, fastened on the roots of honest plants from which it draws its nourishment. The ancestors of this species, having deserted the path of rectitude ages ago to live by piracy, gradually lost the use of their leaves.
Hairy Ruellia
Many charming ruellias from the tropics adorn hothouses and window gardens in winter; but so far north as the New Jersey pine barrens, and westward where killing frosts occur, this perennial proves to be perfectly hardy.
Bluets, Quaker Bonnets, Venus' Pride
Millions of these dainty wee flowers, scattered through the grass of moist meadows and by the wayside, reflect the blue and the serenity of heaven in their pure, upturned faces. Where the white variety grows, one might think a light snowfall had powdered the grass.
Wild, Common, or Card Teazel, Gypsy Combs
The plant is largely cultivated in the west of England, and quantities that have been imported from France and Germany may be seen in wagons on the way to the factories in any of the woollen-trade towns.
Harebell or Hairbell, Blue Bells of Scotland
It was a long stride forward in the evolutionary scale when the harebell welded its five once separate petals together. First at the base, then farther and farther up the sides, until a solid bell-shaped structure resulted.
Venus' Looking-glass, Clasping Bellflower
When the European Venus' looking-glass used to be cultivated in gardens here, our grandmothers tell us it was altogether too prolific, crowding out of existence its less fruitful, but more lovely, neighbors.
Great Lobelia, Blue Cardinal-flower
Linnaeus named this group of plants for Matthias de l'Obel, a Flemish botanist, or herbalist more likely, who became physician to James I of England.
Indian or Wild Tobacco
The most stupid of the lower animals knows enough to let this poisonous, acrid plant alone; but not so man, who formerly made a quack medicine from it in the days when a drug that set one's internal organism on fire was supposed to be especially beneficial.
Endive and dandelion, the chicory's relatives, appear on the table too, in spring, where people have learned the possibilities of salads, as they certainly have in Europe.
Emerson says a weed is a plant whose virtues we have not yet discovered. But surely it is no small virtue in the ironweed to brighten the roadsides and low meadows throughout the summer with bright clusters of bloom.
Common or Scaly Blazing Star, Button Snakeroot
The Large Button Snakeroot, Blue Blazing Star, or Gay Feather (L. scariosa), may attain six feet, but usually not more than half that height; and its round flower-heads normally stand well away from the stout stem on foot-stems of their own.
Blue and Purple Asters or Starworts
Certainly from Massachusetts, northern New York, and Minnesota southward to the Gulf of Mexico one may expect to find the New England Aster or Starwort (A. Nova-Anglice), one of the most striking and widely distributed of the tribe, in spite of its local name.
Sessile-leaved Twisted-stalk
As we look down on this graceful plant, no blossoms are visible. But if we bend the zig-zagged stem backward, we shall discover the little rosy bells swaying from the base of the leaves on curved footstalks.
Pink, Venus, or Stemless Lady's Slipper
Because most people cannot forbear picking this exquisite flower that seems too beautiful to be found outside a millionaire's hothouse, it is becoming rarer every year, until the finding of one in the deep forest, where it must now hide, has become the event of a day's walk.
Showy, Gay, or Spring Orchis
An orchid, from the amazing cleverness of its operations, is attractive under any circumstances to whomever understands it. This earliest member of the family to appear charms the female bumblebee, to whose anatomy it is especially adapted.
Rose or Sweet Pogonia
This is one of the few orchids whose pollen, usually found in masses, is not united by threads. Without the bee's aid in releasing it from its little box, the lovely species would quickly perish from the face of the earth.
Arethusa, Indian Pink
Another charming, but much smaller, orchid, that we must don our rubber boots to find where it hides in cool, peaty bogs from Canada and the Northern United States to California, and southward in the Rockies to Arizona, is the Calypso (Calypso bulbosa).
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