PURPLE VIRGIN'S BOWER





(Atragene Americana) Crowfoot family



Flowers - Showy, purplish blue, about 3 in. across; 4 sepals,

broadly expanded, thin, translucent, strongly veined, very large,

simulating petals; petals small, spoon-shaped; stamens very

numerous ; styles long, persistent, plumed throughout. Stem:

Trailing or partly climbing with the help of leafstalks and

leaflets. Leaves: Opposite, compounded of 3 egg-shaped, pointed

leaflets on slender petioles.

Preferred Habitat - - Rocky woodlands.

Flowering Season - May-June.

Distribution - Hudson Bay westward, south to Minnesota and

Virginia.



The day on which one finds this rare and beautiful flower in some

rocky ravine high among the hills or mountains becomes memorable

to the budding botanist. At an elevation of three thousand feet

in the Catskills it trails its way over the rocks, fallen trees,

and undergrowth of the forest, suggesting some of the handsome

Japanese species introduced by Sieboldt and Fortune to Occidental

gardens. No one who sees this broadly expanded blossom could

confuse it either with the thick and bell-shaped purple

LEATHER-FLOWER (C. Viorna), so exquisitely feathery in fruit,

that grows in rich, moist soil from Pennsylvania southward and

westward; or with the far more graceful and deliciously fragrant

purple MARSH CLEMATIS (C. crispa) of our Southern States. The

latter, though bell-shaped also, has thin, recurved sepals, and

its persistent styles are silky, not feathery at seed-time.





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