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when extended cultivation leaves so few wild tracts to the botanist. By floriculture its petals have been enlarged and multiplied and its colours infinitely varied, but their beauties cannot be rendered permanent. Nature seems to have allowed her works to bear a temporary improvement only in order to create industrious habits in man her most noble and finished work.
SAPONARIA, (LINN.) SoAPWoRT.
Name from sapo soap, the plant yielding a mucilaginous juice which has been employed in place of that useful article.
1. S. officinalis, (Linn.) officinal or Common Soapwort. Engl. Bot. t. 1060. Reich Icones, vi. 245. Sturm’s Deutschland’s Flora, 6.10.
Locality. Roadsides, and hedge banks, especially near cottages. Rare. P. Fl. July, August. Area, * 2. 3. 4. 5.
- South Division.
2. South Middle District, “About Heytesbury,” Mr. Rowden.
3. South-west District, “Ditch banks at West Harnham,” Major Smith. “Near Flintford, Corsley,” Miss Griffith.
4. North-west District, “Chippenham not unfrequent,” Dr. Alerander Prior, and Mr. C. E. Broome. “Biddestone,” Miss Ruck, “Roadside at Netherstreet,” Miss L. Meredith. “Derry Hill and Sandy Lane,” Mr. Sole, M.S. Flora.
5. North-east District, Purton, and Lydiard Park wall near the Mansion. “Great Bedwyn,” Mr. Bartlett.
This plant has much the appearance of being naturalized throughout the county, being generally observed near houses or villages. Stems cylindrical, about eighteen inches high, each terminating in a roundish panicle of handsome blush coloured flowers, which have a sweetish though scarcely agreeable scent. The double variety is not uncommon in gardens. Flowers become double by the multiplication of the parts of the corolline whorl. This arises in general from a metamorphosis of the stamens. It is very common in the Natural orders Ranunculaceae, Papaveraceae, Magnoliaceae, Malvaceae and Rosaceae, whilst it is rare in Leguminosae. The tendency to VOL. VII.-NO. XX. S
produce double flowers is sometimes very strong, thus Kerria japonica in cultivation is never seen except with double flowers. Saponaria contains Saponine, which imparts to it saponaceous qualities. The same principle is found in species of Silene, Lychnis and Cucubalus.
SILENE, (LINN.) CATCHFLY.
Name. Supposed to be from Sialon, (Gr.) Saliva, in allusion to the viscid moisture on the stalks of many of the species, by which flies of the smaller kinds are entrapped, hence the English name of the genus Catchfly. 1. S. anglica, (Linn.) English Catchfly. Engl. Bot. t. 1178. Locality. On arable land where the soil is light, sandy or gravelly. A. F. June, July. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. * South Division. 1. South-east District, “Alderbury near Salisbury,” Mr. Joseph Woods, and Mr. James Hussey. “Amesbury,” Dr. Southby. 2. South Middle District, “Sandy cornfields near Market Lavington,” Miss L. Meredith. 3. South-west District, “Cornfields near Corsley,” Miss Griffith. North Division. 4. North-west District, “Bowden Hill,” Dr. Alexander Prior, and Mr. C. E. Broome. “Cornfields near the Old Horse and Jockey, Kingsdown,” Flora, Bath. One of the most inconspicuous of its genus, it will possibly prove to be more frequent throughout Wilts than the above area of distribution indicates. 2. S. nutans, (Linn.) Nottingham Catchfly. Engl. Bot. t. 460. Has been observed by Miss L. Meredith at Scratchbury Hill near Warminster, where it appears to have been introduced. But nowhere is it seen in greater perfection by the collecting botanist than upon the brow of the once rude, now tufted and glowing heights of Encombe, in the adjoining county, (Dorset). When night has hidden the glories of the garden it expands its narrow petals, and fills the whole air and every breeze with most delicious fragrance.
3. S. inflata (Sm.) inflated Catchfly, Bladder Campion. Eng/. Bot. t. 164.
Locality. Gravel pits, borders of fields, and road sides. Common. P. Fl. June, August. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. General in all the Districts.
A very frequent plant in cornfields and pastures, especially in chalky and calcareous soils, Stem and leaves very glaucous, the latter somewhat fleshy. Calyx beautifully veined with purple and green. A variety having the stem and leaves rough, with hairs and calyx downy, is sometimes met with.
S. noctiflora, (Linn.) Night flowering Catchfly, though not as yet recorded for Wilts, should be searched for in the Southern Districts. So closely resembling starved plants of Lychnis vespertina (S.) that it is probably overlooked.
LYCHNIs, (LINN.) CAMPION LYCHNIs.
Name. From the Greek (suchnos) a lamp, in allusion to the brilliancy of some of the species, e.g. “L. Chalcedonica,” the scarlet Lychnis of gardens. 1. L. Flos cuculi, (Linn.) Meadow Lychnis, or Ragged Robin. Engl. Bot. t. 573. Reich. Icones, 5129. Locality. In wet places, in meadows, and in woods, frequent throughout the county. P. F. May, June. Area, 1.2. 3. 4. 5. This plant is called Ragged Robin from the finely cut or ragged appearance of its petals, and Cuckoo-flower, in common with several other plants that blossom about the time this welcome and merry messenger of spring begins its monotonous song. “The agreement between the blowing of flowers, and the periodical return of birds of passage” says Mr. Curtis in his excellent “Flora Londinensis” “has been attended to from the earliest ages. Before the return of the seasons was exactly ascertained by Astroñomy, these observations were of great consequence in pointing out stated times for the purposes of agriculture, and still in many a cottage, the birds of passage and their corresponding flowers assist
in regulating the short and simple Annals of the Poor.”
For this reason no doubt we have several other plants that in different places go by the name of Cuckoo-flower. Gerarde says Cardamine pratensis, is the true Cuckoo-flower. Shakspeare's Cuckoo-buds are of “yellow hue,” and are probably Ranunculus or Crow-foot. By some the Orchis, Arum, and Oxalis, or Wood-sorrel are all called after the Cuckoo. Some interesting observations respecting the coincidence of the flowering of particular plants, and the arrival of certain birds of passage may be seen in Stillingfleet's “Tracts relating to Natural History,” &c. Fourth Edition, p. 148, and “Loudon’s Mag. of Natural History,” vol. iii. p. 17. 2. L. diurna, (Sibth.) Day-flowering, Red Campion. The English Campion so called from Campus, (Lat.) or the French Champ. Engl. Bot. t. 1579. Reich. Icones, vi. 304. St. 238. L. dioica. a. (Linn.) Locality. Damp hedge banks, and in moist or shaded situations. Common. B. (?) Fl. June, September. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Generally distributed throughout the county, less frequent in the Southern or chalky Districts, preferring rather moist situations particularly where the subsoil is clay or gravel. Linnaeus confounded this with the following species under his “L. dioica,” but though mutually deficient in the development of their floral organs, the same plant rarely perfecting both stamens and pistils, such is the difference of their habit that independent of colour they would scarcely be associated by the most indifferent observer. 3. L. vespertina, (Sibth.) Evening flowering, White Campion. Engl. Bot. t. 1580. Reich. Icones, vi. 304. St. 239. L. dioica, £8 (Linn.) Locality. Hedge banks, cultivated ground, borders of fields and amongst corn. Very frequent. B. (?) F. June, September. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. General in all the Districts. A more robust plant than the preceding species, with larger white or pale blush coloured flowers, diffusing towards evening and at the approach of rain an agreeable fragrance, which is never perceptible in those of L. diurna, (Sibth.) Well distinguished by the leaves being of a denser substance and more lanceolate than ovate, by its conical not globular capsule, with erect not reflexed teeth. It seems to prefer an open habitat, abounding in fields and exposed pastures, especially in a chalky soil, where the Red Campion rarely intrudes. Both L. diurna (Sibth.), and vespertina (Sibth.), vary in colour from red to white and from white to red. 4. L. Githago, (Lam.) Corn Cockle, Corn Campion, Wild Nigella, Git vel Gith, n. indecl. a small seed. (Ainsworth.) The Gith of the Romans was Nigella sativa, the seeds of which plant they used as the moderns do pepper. Ago in botany, when it terminates a word, usually denotes resemblance, thus, Gith—ago, Medic—ago. Agrostemma (Linn.) Engl. Bot. t. 741. St. 5. 6. Locality. In cornfields on a dry soil. A. Fl. June, August. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A frequent plant in cornfields throughout Wiltshire, but probably introduced. This is a very troublesome weed and should be eradicated by hand before it comes into flower. The seeds are large and heavy, and their black husks when mixed with wheat, breaking so fine as to pass the bolters, renders the flour specky. They are therefore obnoxious to the millers and depreciate the sample of corn.
SAGINA, (LINN.) PEARLworTH.
Name. From Sagina, nutriment, it being supposed fattening to cattle, though perhaps originally designating some nutritious sort of grain. 1. S. pro-cumbens, (Linn.) procumbent Pearlwort. Engl. Bot. t. 880. Reich. Icones, v. 201. Locality. On Sandy ground, walks, grass plots and beds of of neglected gardens, as well as on shady walls and gravelly banks everywhere. P. F. May, September. Area, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A common weed in all parts of the county. It sometimes occurs with five sepals, five petals and five stamens, often without petals with a five sepaled calyx, ten stamens and five pistils, thus approaching to Spergula. The calyx and other parts of the flower appear in this case to increase at the expense of the corolla, the latter however is often wanting without an augmentation of the other parts. Few plants assume a greater variety of appearance