The Project Gutenberg EBook of Our Flowering Shrubs, by Anonymous This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Our Flowering Shrubs and how to know them Author: Anonymous Commentator: William Smith Illustrator: Charles Kirk Release Date: February 16, 2012 [EBook #38904] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK OUR FLOWERING SHRUBS *** Produced by Jeroen van Luin, Ben Beasley, jromero and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
The success of “Our Trees and How to Know Them” has encouraged the publishers to issue the present volume, which deals with a branch of botany practically untouched by handbooks at a moderate price. They trust that lovers of plants will show their appreciation of their efforts by endeavouring to make this new departure very widely known.
The study of shrubs has greatly increased during recent years, and this has no doubt been brought about by the increasing knowledge of nature study now commonly included in the curriculum of schools and other establishments, and while shrubs have not as yet received the same attention as trees yet they offer quite as interesting a field, while the beauty of certain of the species arrests the attention of even the most casual observer.
The term “shrub” means a low, woody-stemmed perennial, but many of the species attain the dimensions of a fair-sized tree.
The Holly-leaved Barberry or Mahonia (frontispiece), a North American shrub, is commonly met with either planted as an undergrowth to deciduous trees or as a covert plant in woodlands. It is easily recognised from the leaflets being in two or three pairs, with an odd one at top, in colour of a glossy dark-green, and the leaves of a leathery nature. The flowers are borne in much-crowded, erect racemes which open in early spring, followed later by clusters of purple berries.
Darwin’s Barberry (page 6) is a densely-branched, spreading evergreen bush about 8 feet high, with numerous racemose flowers which open in May, succeeded by purple berries throughout the summer. Leaves are about one inch long, oval-shaped, with five spiny teeth. A near ally to the preceding is the Narrow-leaved Barberry (page 7). It forms a shrub of rare beauty; with slender arching shoots which in early spring are densely covered with golden blossoms. May be known by the narrow sharp-pointed leaves.
A British shrub, the Common Barberry (page 8) usually inhabits dry stony soils, and forms a tall shrub about 10 feet high. In early spring the plant is profusely covered with pendulous racemes of yellow flowers, and later by the scarlet berries which are sometimes used for preserves. Distinguished by the egg-shaped leaves and three-parted spines at the axils of the leaves. A photograph shewing the flowers on a larger scale will be found on page 11 of Wild Flowers at Home, Fourth Series (“Nature Book,” No. 16).
The Laurel-leaved Cistus (page 9) is a native of the South of Europe, and grows over four feet high. The flowers, resembling in appearance those of the dog-rose, are borne on terminal flower-stalks four and five together, but are very ephemeral in character. The ovate spear-shaped leaves are generally covered with a gummy substance. Flowers during July and August.
Pallas’s Tamarisk (page 10) is one of the shrubs which thrive in bleak exposed places and in dry sandy soils. The leaves are of a minute scale-like character, and from May onwards the long, terminal spikes of rosy-pink flowers are an attractive feature.
A hardy evergreen, shrubby plant, the Common Rue (page 11) is well known as a medicinal plant. The leaves are nearly blue and emit a very unpleasant smell and have a bitter taste. Flowers are produced in late summer.
One of the most fragrant shrubs, the Mexican Orange-Flower (page 12), forms a large glossy-leaved bush with axillary stalks of white flowers which, from their appearance and fragrance, resemble orange-blossom. The flowers open in summer, and the leaves are bright-green, long-stalked, with three leaflets to each.
The Hop Tree or Shrubby Trefoil (page 13), flowers from May to July and produces flat-headed inflorescences of a greenish yellow colour, succeeded in autumn by bunches of flat fruits of a greenish colour. As the specific name suggests the leaves are in threes, long-stalked, of an elliptical shape, and terminate in a sharp point. Reaches a height of 8 feet.
Generally grown as a wall-plant, the Blue Mountain Sweet (page 14) flowers freely in that position during July and August. The alternate leaves are oblong, sharply-serrated, and downy. From the axils of the leaves spring the elongated spikes of pale blue flowers. A native of Mexico.
The Veitch’s Mountain Sweet (page 15) is another plant grown as a wall-shrub, where it often attains a height of 12 feet, and is a most conspicuous plant during its flowering period from May to July when it is literally covered by dense clusters of bright blue flowers relieved by neat, elliptical dark-green leaves.
Dyers’ Greenweed (page 16), so-called from the plant yielding a yellow dye, is found wild as a native plant in certain parts of Britain, and flowers most of the summer. The yellow flowers are produced on spicate racemes, while the leaves are alternate, smooth and spear-shaped. An erect-growing plant about two feet in height.
The Yellow Spanish Broom (page 17) is a plant which delights in a dry sandy loam, and is capable of resisting long periods of drought. This species is a hardy deciduous shrub with rush-like and nearly leafless branches, and attains a height of six feet. From July to September its spikes of fragrant golden-yellow blossoms are particularly attractive.
One of the European species, the Capitate Broom (page 18) forms a shrub over two feet high and opens its flowers from June onwards. The leaflets are egg-shaped, and the whole plant is covered with loose, soft hair.
Gerard’s Indigo (page 19), a native of India, is one of the most beautiful of the Leguminosæ shrubs and is a low branching species. Leaves pinnate and of a pale grey-green colour. Flowers open from July onwards and are borne in many-flowered spikes.
A native of Europe, the Bladder Senna (page 20) is one of the few plants that thrive in dry sandy soils. It forms a hardy, deciduous, free-growing shrub 10 feet high, bearing stalks of yellow pea-shaped flowers from July to September. The pinnate leaves are prettily divided into ovate and flat-shaped leaflets. A distinctive feature of this plant in the autumn is the large inflated seed-pods.
A popular and well-known evergreen shrub, the Portugal Laurel (page 21) forms a large spreading bush from 10 to over 20 feet in height. The ovate and lanceolate-shaped leaves are of a dense dark-green, and in June the large erect spikes of white flowers are very striking. In autumn the egg-shaped and dull-red coloured fruits are a noticeable feature.
Douglas’s Spiræa (page 22) forms a crowded cluster of erect shoots about 6 feet high, and in August the dense terminal spikes of rosy-red flowers open. Leaves acute, rounded, and downy beneath.
Spiræa Japonica (page 23) forms a bush 3 to 6 feet high with much branched shoots terminating in brightly coloured flat flower-heads which open from July onwards, and are relieved by the small spear-shaped, abrupt-pointed, and finely-serrated leaves.
A native of Nepaul, the Vine-leaved Neillia (page 24) is frequently seen in shrubberies, forming a hardy branching bush about five feet high, the shoots bearing spikes of white flowers in June. A distinctive feature of this plant is the heart-shaped, three-lobed, and serrated leaves.
The Jew’s Mallow (page 25) is one of the favourite plants commonly grown on cottage walls, and the illustration shows the double-flowering form with the solitary, terminal stalks of flowers, which open in early summer. The foliage is glabrous, spear-shaped and finely-toothed on the margins.
Few shrubs when in flower are capable of arresting attention so much as the Rocky Mountain Bramble (page 26). In May the large, single, white, rose-like flowers are a beautiful feature of this bramble, which attains a height of five feet. The kidney-shaped leaves are three to five-lobed and finely-toothed. A native of North America, where this plant is said to produce large fruits of delicious flavour.
The Cut-leaved Bramble (page 27) is frequently seen in a wild state, and is known by its finely-cut leaves. Of a pinkish-white colour, the flowers are borne in loose spikes from June to September, whilst fruit can be picked during the latter month. It is a robust climbing plant, and the wood is very prickly.
The Nutka Sound Raspberry (page 28) is one of the species that send up annual shoots attaining to a height of two feet, on which are borne the large ornamental five-lobed leaves. The large, handsome white flowers open in June, and the large, conical-shaped, red fruits ripen early in autumn.
Of a much-branched shrubby habit, the Shrubby Cinquefoil (page 29) forms a small bush from two to four feet in height, with pinnate leaves and entire hairy oblong leaflets. A native of the Northern Hemisphere, this cinquefoil produces flat-headed inflorescences of yellow flowers throughout the summer months.
The Small-leaved Rockspray (page 30) forms a prostrate bush about three feet high, and is distinguished by the branches being densely covered by small, acute, and dark-green glossy leaves. The small, white, solitary flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves during April and May. This plant is often grown as a wall plant, in which position it is conspicuous in winter with its bright-scarlet fruits.
Simons’s Cotoneaster (page 31) forms a much-branching, usually evergreen shrub about six feet high. In April, solitary, white, and sessile flowers are borne on lateral branches. Foliage angular-shaped and silky beneath. Its bright scarlet fruits are conspicuous in late autumn.
Deutzia gracilis (page 32) is a well-known Japanese shrub seen in florists’ shops in early spring. It forms a compact-growing bush two feet high, producing in April terminal spikes of pretty white blossoms set amidst the small egg-shaped and narrow-pointed leaves.
The Common Mock Orange (page 33) is an erect-growing shrub, from six to ten feet high, profusely covered in May with white and strongly orange-scented flowers. The ovate-shaped leaves are said to have the odour and taste of cucumbers when crushed. A native of the South of Europe.
On page 34 is illustrated the Large-flowered Mock Orange, a shrub from the Southern United States. It differs from the Common Mock Orange in its taller growth (fully 12 feet), and in the large white blossoms, which open in midsummer, being practically scentless. The leaves also are more narrow at the point and more rounded at the base.
Philippi’s Escallonia (page 35) forms a straggling bush, and in July the shoots are densely covered with panicles of small white flowers set amidst small dark-green leaves.
The Dotted Escallonia (page 36) is a much-branched evergreen bush, five to six feet high, with the shoots terminated by deep-red-coloured flowers which open in July. The common name of this plant is derived from the leaves having little dot-like swellings (glands) on the lower side of the leaves, which are sharp-pointed, ovate in form, and very glossy on the upper surface.
Early in May the Buffalo or Missouri Currant (page 37) one of the North American Currants, opens its golden-yellow flowers, which are borne in drooping clusters on short shoots arising from the main stems. It is a loosely-growing plant, about four feet high, with long-stalked, three-lobed leaves.
One of the European (British) shrubs, the Wild or Red Currant (page 38) is found in the woodlands, where its red-coloured and acid-tasted fruits are found in late summer. It throws drooping clusters of green-coloured flowers in early spring, and the three to five-angled leaves are a distinctive feature of this plant. It is from this plant that the garden forms of the Red Currant have arisen.
To those familiar with the West Coast of Scotland, the Riccarton Fuchsia (page 39) will have been noticeable to them there as forming hedges often over six feet in height. It is a handsome plant, with its shoots laden in summer and autumn with drooping red-coloured flowers.
The White-fruited Dogwood (page 40) is usually found in moist situations, and opens its flat-shaped flower-heads in May. They are succeeded in autumn by clusters of small, white-coloured, fruits. A plant that is easily recognisable by its bright-red-coloured shoots and large ovate-shaped and sharp-pointed leaves.
One of the most ornamental evergreen shrubs, the Japanese Aucuba (page 41), is grown in mostly all gardens. The leaves are pale green in colour and beautifully spotted with yellow; in form, spear-shaped, leathery to the feel, and very glossy. The flowers open in early spring, but are inconspicuous, and hidden by the foliage.
The Canadian Elder (page 42) is a plant frequently seen in shrubberies, opening its large, white-coloured flower-heads in late July, followed in autumn by clusters of purple-coloured berries. The illustration is very typical, the large flower-heads being shown among the pinnate leaves and oblong-shaped leaflets.
A native of South Europe, the Laurustinus (page 43) flowers throughout the winter, according to situation, and may be known by the flat corymbs of white flowers. It is an evergreen shrub, with shining, dark-green, and oval-shaped leaves.
In the Tomentose Guelder Rose (page 44) the flowers are barren around the margin of the truss, and open in early summer, while the leaves are flat, rounded, dark-green in colour, and very wrinkled.
The Japanese Guelder Rose (page 45) has large, rounded, barren trusses of white flowers, which open in May. It forms a spreading bush from three to four feet high.
The Snowberry (page 46) is familiar through its large, white fruits hanging on the branches most of the winter. In late summer it opens its flowers, which are borne in loose spikes at the end of the branches, and forms a loose-growing bush about four feet high.
[A]One of the most ornamental free-flowering shrubs, the Bush Honeysuckle (page 47), produces in early summer large clusters of bell-shaped and rose-coloured flowers, set amidst light-green, ovate-shaped leaves, and attains a height of over six feet.
A native of New Zealand, the Daisy Tree is one of the most popular free-flowering shrubs. The illustration (page 48) shews the foliage completely hidden by the numerous small white and yellow-disked flowers. It is a box-like plant, and grows over six feet high. The leaves are crowded, about one inch long, dull-green colour above and whitish beneath, and acute at each end.
The New Zealand Daisy Tree (page 49) has large holly-like leaves, which are silvery on the underside, and large flower-heads, which are white, with a red centre, and open in July. Forms a loose-growing plant.
A densely-growing bush, the Prickly Heath (page 50) flowers from May to July, and the small white flowers are succeeded by berries of various colours borne in the axils of the small, dark-green, rigid, shining leaves. It rarely grows over four feet high.
The Leather-Leaf (page 51) is a sparse-growing, dwarf, evergreen shrub from North America. It flowers from April to May, the small, cylindrical-shaped, snow-white flowers being produced from the under sides of the branches. Leaves scarce, narrowed to each end, and rusty-coloured beneath.
At page 52 is illustrated the Bundle-flowered Andromeda, a shrub growing about six feet high, which flowers in April, completely covering the plant with spikes of lily-of-the-valley-like blossoms. A plant recognised by the long, egg-shaped and sharply-pointed leaves, leathery in touching, and of a very dark green colour.
The Labrador Tea (page 53) derives its common name from the leaves having been used as a substitute for tea. It grows about three feet high, of compact, rounded form, and in early May is profusely covered with trusses of white flowers set amidst narrow rusty-looking foliage.
One of the best known shrubs is Rhododendron flavum (page 54) (commonly known as Azalea pontica), and in early summer it is one of the freest-flowering plants. A plant easily known by its trusses of yellow-coloured and clammy blossoms with long protruding stamens. The large and shiny leaves are sparsely produced.
The Rusty-leaved Alpenrose (page 55) is a European plant rarely growing over three feet high, of compact growth, with shining dotted leaves. From May onwards plants are conspicuous in rock gardens with their small trusses of scarlet and yellow-dotted flowers. For a photograph on a larger scale, see Alpine Plants at Home, First Series (“Nature Book” No. 20), page 39.
Few plants are so well known as the Common or Pontic Rhododendron (page 56), and in many parts of Britain it has naturalised itself in the woodlands. It forms a tall-growing plant, frequently over 12 feet high, producing trusses of purple-coloured flowers in May, relieved by large, light-green, spear-shaped foliage.
From the delicacy and fragrance of its flowers the Common White Jesamine (page 57) ranks as one of the most popular plants of the garden. It forms a slender-growing, climbing plant, with feather-shaped leaves and acutely-pointed leaflets, and flowers from May to October.
The Common Lilac (page 58) is familiar with its purple or white-coloured spikes of flowers, which open in May. It forms a tall-growing plant, with large heart-shaped leaves.
Travers’s Speedwell (page 59) is a charming evergreen shrub about four feet high, with short racemes of pale-mauve-coloured flowers, which open in June and July. The leaves are arranged four-rowed along the shoots, with short footstalks, narrow-oblong in shape, and dark-green in colour.
A plant peculiar to cottage gardens is the Common Lavender (page 60), which produces long-stalked spikes of blue flowers throughout the summer. These flowers are usually cut and dried for their lasting fragrance, whilst the much-appreciated lavender water is distilled from the flowers. It forms a dense-growing bush about two feet high, with long narrow-shaped leaves.
On page 61 is illustrated the Poet’s Laurel or Sweet Bay, a beautiful evergreen shrub from South Europe. In many parts of Britain it grows over 21 feet high, but it is usually grown in tubs for floral decoration. The leaves, which are spear-shaped, have an agreeable, slightly bitter taste, and are used in cooking and for confections. The flowers, which are borne in the axils of the leaves, are yellowish in colour, but inconspicuous, and appear in early spring.
The Spurge Laurel (page 62), one of the European (British) shrubs, forms an evergreen bush about three feet high, with thick, shining, spear-shaped leaves. The sweet-scented flowers, of a greenish-yellow colour, appear in February and March, but are inconspicuous, and are borne in drooping clusters at the base of the leaves. Fruit of this plant is highly poisonous.
The Mezereon (page 63) is a conspicuous plant early in March through the leafless branches being covered with red, fragrant blossoms, succeeded later in summer by scarlet berries set amidst lance-shaped and acute-pointed leaves. The Mezereon forms an erect-shaped bush, about four feet high, of which the bark is used medicinally. A white-flowering form of this plant is in cultivation and bears yellow-coloured berries in summer.
Another of the British shrubs is illustrated at page 64 in the Butcher’s Broom, a plant growing about two feet high, with rigid, spiny, widened branches on which are borne the small, white solitary flowers, which open in March and April. For a photograph on a larger scale, see Wild Flowers at Home, Fourth Series (“Nature Book” No. 16), page 58.
The Latin nomenclature adopted for the shrubs in this volume is that of the “Hand-list of Trees and Shrubs” (1902) issued by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The English and French names are compiled from various sources; where none existed, suitable appellations have been coined. The German names are due to the kindness of Herr Andreas Voss.
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