Flowers - Sessile-leaved Twisted-stalk
( Originally Published 1916 )
(Streptopus roseus) Lily-of-the-Valley family
Flowers—Dull, purplish pink, % in. long or less, solitary, on thread-like, curved footstalks longer than the small flower itself, nodding from leaf-axils. Perianth billshaped, of 6 spreading segments; stamens 6, 2-horned ; style spreading into 3 branches, stigmatic on inner side. Stem: 1 to 2 1/2 ft. high, simple or forked. Leaves : Thin, alternate, green on both sides, many nerved, tapering at end, rounded at base, where they are seated on stem. Fruit : A round, red, many-seeded berry.
Preferred Habitat—Moist woods.
Distribution—North America east and west, southward to Georgia and Oregon.
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 (streptos = twisted, pous a foot or stalk) very much as the plant's relatives the Solomon's seals grow. In the confident expectation of having its seeds dropped far and wide, it bears showy red berries in August for the birds now wandering through the woods with increased, hungry families.
The Clasping-leaved Twisted-stalk (S. amplexifolius), which has one or two greenish-white bells nodding from its axils, may be distinguished when not in flower by its leaves, which are hoary—not green—on the under side, or by its oval berry. In-deed most plants living in wet soil have a coating of down on the under sides of their leaves to -prevent the pores from clogging with rising vapors.