(Clintonia borealis) Lily-of-the-valley family
Flowers - Straw color or greenish yellow, less than 1 in. long, 3
to 6 nodding on slender pedicels from the summit of a leafless
scape 6 to 15 in. tall. Perianth of 6 spreading divisions, the 6
attached; style, 3-lobed. Leaves: Dark, glossy, large,
oval to oblong, 2 to 5 (usually 3), sheathing at the base. Fruit.
Oval blue berries on upright pedicels.
Preferred Habitat - Moist, rich, cool woods and thickets.
Flowering Season - May-June.
Distribution - From the Carolinas and Wisconsin far northward.
To name canals, bridges, city thoroughfares, booming factory
towns after DeWitt Clinton seems to many appropriate enough; but
why a shy little woodland flower? As fitly might a wee white
violet carry down the name of Theodore Roosevelt to posterity!
"Gray should not have named the flower from the Governor of New
York," complains Thoreau. "What is he to the lovers of flowers in
Massachusetts? If named after a man, it must be a man of
flowers." So completely has Clinton, the practical man of
affairs, obliterated Clinton, the naturalist, from the popular
mind, that, were it not for this plant keeping his memory green,
we should be in danger of forgetting the weary, overworked
governor, fleeing from care to the woods and fields; pursuing in
the open air the study which above all others delighted and
refreshed him; revealing in every leisure moment a too-often
forgotten side of his many-sided greatness.
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