(Solanum Dulcamara) Potato family Flowers - Blue, purple, or, rarely, white with greenish spots on each lobe; about 1/2 in. broad, clustered in slender, drooping cymes. Calyx 5-lobed, oblong, persistent on the berry; corolla deeply, sharply 5-cleft, wheel-shaped, or points curved backward; 5 stamens

inserted on throat, yellow, protruding, the anthers united to form a cone; stigma small. Stem: Climbing or straggling, woody below, branched, 2 to 8 ft. long. Leaves: Alternate, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 2 1/2 in. wide, pointed at the apex, usually heart-shaped at base; some with 2 distinct leaflets below on the petiole, others have leaflets united with leaf like lower lobes or wings. Fruit: A bright red, oval berry. Preferred Habitat - Moist thickets, fence rows. Flowering Season - May-September. Distribution - United States east of Kansas, north of New Jersey. Canada, Europe, and Asia. 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, when the unpretending, shrubby vine, that has crowded its way through the rank midsummer vegetation, becomes a joy to the eye. Another bittersweet, so-called, festoons the hedgerows with yellow berries which, bursting, show their scarlet-coated seeds. Rose hips and mountain-ash berries, among many other conspicuous bits of color, arrest attention, but not for us were they designed. Now the birds are migrating, and, hungry with their long flight, they gladly stop to feed upon fare so attractive. Hard, indigestible seeds traverse the alimentary canal without alteration and are deposited many miles from the parent that bore them. Nature's methods for widely distributing plants cannot but stir the dullest imagination. The purple pendent flowers of this nightshade secrete no nectar, therefore many insects let them alone; but it is now believed that no part of the plant is poisonous. Certainly one that claims the potato, tomato, and eggplant among its kin has no right to be dangerous. The BLACK, GARDEN, or DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, also called MOREL (S. nigrum), bears jet-black berries that are alleged to be fatal. Nevertheless, female bumblebees, to which its white flowers are specially adapted, visit them to draw out pollen from the chinks of the anthers with their jaws, just as they do in the case of the wild, sensitive plant, and with no more disastrous result. It has been well said that the nightshades are a blessing both to the sick and to the doctors. The present species takes its name from dulcis, sweet, and amaras, bitter, referring to the taste of the juice; the generic name is derived from solamen, solace or consolation, referring to the relief afforded by the narcotic properties of some of these plants. BLUE or WILD TOADFLAX; BLUE LINARIA (Linaria Canadensis) Figwort family Flowers - Pale blue to purple, small, irregular, in slender spikes. Calyx 5-pointed; corolla 2-lipped, with curved spur longer than its tube, which is nearly closed by a white, 2-ridged projection or palate; the upper lip erect, 2-lobed; lower lip 3-lobed, spreading. Stamens 4, in pairs, in throat; 1 pistil. Stem: Slender, weak, of sterile shoots, prostrate; flowering stem, ascending or erect, 4 in. to 2 ft. high. Leaves: Small, linear, alternately scattered along stem, or oblong in pairs or threes on leafy sterile shoots. Preferred Habitat - Dry soil, gravel, or sand. Flowering Season - May-October. Distribution - North, Central, and South Americas. 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. More beautiful than the rather scrawny flowers are the tufts of cool green foliage made by the sterile shoots that take complete possession of a wide area around the parent plants. Unlike its relative butter-and-eggs, the corolla of this toadflax is so contracted that bees cannot enter it; but by inserting their long tongues, they nevertheless manage to drain it. Small, short-tongued bees contrive to reach only a little nectar. The palate, so valuable to the other linaria, has in this one lost its function; and the larger flies, taking advantage of the flower's weakness, pilfer both sweets and pollen. Butterflies, to which a slender spurred flower is especially attractive, visit this one in great numbers, and as they cannot regale themselves without touching the anthers and stigma, they may be regarded as the legitimate visitors. Wolf, rat, mouse, sow, cow, cat, snake, dragon, dog, toad, are among the many animal prefixes to the names of flowers that the English country people have given for various and often most interesting reasons. Just as dog, used as a prefix, expresses an idea of worthlessness to them, so toad suggests a spurious plant; the toadflax being made to bear what is meant to be an odious name because before flowering it resembles the true flax, linum, from which the generic title is derived.


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