(Legouzia perfoliata; Specularia perfoliata of Gray)

Bellflower family

Flowers - Violet blue, from 1/2 to 3/4 in. across; solitary or 2

or 3 together, seated, in axils of upper leaves. Calyx lobes

varying from 3 to 5 in earlier and later flowers, acute, rigid;

corolla a 5-spoked wheel; 5 stamens; pistil with 3 stigmas. Stem:

6 in. to 2 ft. long, hairy, densely leafy, slender, weak. Leaves:

Round, clasped about stem by heart-shaped base.

Preferred Habitat - Sterile waste places, dry woods.

Flowering Season - May-September.

Distribution - From British Columbia, Oregon, and Mexico, east to

Atlantic Ocean.

At the top of a gradually lengthened and apparently overburdened

leafy stalk, weakly leaning upon surrounding vegetation, a few

perfect blossoms spread their violet wheels, while below them

insignificant earlier flowers, which, although they have never

opened, nor reared their heads above the hollows of the little

shell-like leaves where they lie secluded, have, nevertheless,

been producing seed without imported pollen while their showy

sisters slept. But the later blooms, by attracting insects, set

cross-fertilized seed to counteract any evil tendencies that

might weaken the species if it depended upon self-fertilization

only. 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.

The SMALL VENUS' LOOKING-GLASS (L. biflora), of similar habit to

the preceding, but with egg-shaped or oblong leaves seated on,

not clasping, its smooth and very slender stem, grows in the

South and westward to California.

VELVET LEAF INDIAN MALLOW AMERICAN JUTE VENUS' PRIDE facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail