of a Plant
of a plant is that portion which is usually found in the earth,
the stem and leaves being in the air. The point of union is called
the collar or neck of the plant.
root is one composed of many spreading branches, as that of
root is one where it tapers regularly from the crown to the apex,
as that of the carrot.
root is one when it tapers up as well as down, as that of the
root is one when much swollen at the base, so as to become
broader than long, as that of a turnip.
root is one when some of the fibers or branches are thickened.
root is one when some of the branches assume the form of rounded
knobs, as the potato.
root is one when these knobs are branched.
roots are those emitted from the stem into the open air, as that
of Indian corn.
or root stock, is a prostrate stem either subterranean or resting on
the surface, as that of calamus, or blood-root.
is an enlargement of the ape of a subterranean branch of the
root, as that of the common potato or artichoke.
is a fleshy subterranean stem of a round or oval figure, as in the
is an extremely abbreviated stem clothed with scales, as that of the
The stem is
that portion of the plant which grows in the opposite direction from
the root, seeking the light, exposing itself to the air. All
flowering plants possess stems. In those which are said to be
stemless, it is either very short, or concealed beneath the ground.
An herb is
one in which the stem does not become woody, but dies down to the
ground at least after flowering.
A shrub is
a woody plant, branched near the ground and 1 to 6 feet tall.
attains a greater height, with a stem unbranched near the ground. The
stem of a tree is usually called the trunk; in grasses it has been
termed the culm
which are too weak to stand erect are said to be decumbent,
procumbent and prostrate.
reader may more intelligently understand the description of the
medicinal plants on this site, the author has deemed it prudent to
preface the part of this work dedicated to herbal materia medica with
a brief analysis of the plant, as made by the botanist. This becomes
particularly necessary , inasmuch as a plant cannot be accurately
described unless scientific language is used: but , nevertheless,
throughout this whole work it has been the aim of the author to use
the plainest language, and not to weary the reader by a pedantic
employment of technical terms and scientific language.
more will be given than the anatomy of the plant, as nothing of
systematic botany need be known to the reader to recognize the plant,
or to acquaint themselves the medicinal properties thereof. If they
have not a common acquaintance with a medicinal plant, but desires it
for domestic medication. It is important that he should know that he
employs the proper herb, and not use one which simulates it. It has
therefore been the aim of the author to give accurate descriptions of
the herbs, so that the gatherer may not err in his selection of the
plant which his case may need.
parts of the plant are used in medicine, sometimes the seed only: in
others the flower, the leaves, root, rhizome; in others two or more
of these parts, and again , in others the whole plant.
plants spring from the seed, make their full growth and die in one
plant does not flower the first year, but produces leaves only. The
second year of its growth it flowers, after which it dies. The carrot
and parsnip are examples of biennials.
plant lives for more than two years. If the plant retains its leaves
during the winter , it is known as an evergreen; if the leaves fall
upon the approach of cold weather, it is said to be deciduous.
An herb is
a plant having a soft stem which dies down to the ground after the
plant has reached its full growth.
A shrub is
a plant which has a woody stem, grows to a height of 25 to 30 feet
and branches near the ground.
A tree has
a woody stem, is higher than a shrub and does not branch near the
A stolon is
a form of a branch which curves or falls down to the ground, where
they often strike root.
A sucker is
a branch of the subterraneous origin, which, after running
horizontally and emitting roots in its course, at length rises out of
the ground and forms an erect stem, which soon becomes an independent
plant, as illustrated by the rose, raspberry, ect.
A runner is
a prostrate, slender branch sent off from the base of the parent
is a similar but shorter branch , with a tuft of leaves at the end,
as in the house-leek.
A spine is
a short and imperfectly developed branch of a woody plant, as
exhibited in the honey-locust.
is commonly a slender leafless branch, capable of coiling spirally ,
as in the grape vine.
The leaf is
commonly raised on an unexpanded part or stalk which is called the
petiole, while the expanded portion is termed the lamina, limb or
blade. When the vessels or fibers of the leaves expand immediately o
leaving the stem, the leaf is said to be sessile. In such case the
petiole is absent. When the blade consists of a single piece the leaf
is simple: when composed of two or three more with a branched
petiole, the leaf is compound.
distribution of the veins or framework of the leaf in the blade is
lanceolate leaf has the form of a lance.
leaf has the shape of ellipsis.
leaf has the shape of a wedge.
leaf has the shape of a heart.
leaf has the shape of a Kidney
leaf is arrow-shaped.
leaf has the shape of an ancient halberd.
leaf is shaped like a shield.
leaf is one in which the margin is beset with sharp teeth, which
point forward towards the apex.
leaf is one when these teeth are not directed towards the apex.
leaf has rounded teeth.
leaf has alternate concavities and convexities.
leaf has the shape of a feather.
leaf is one having very close and narrow divisions, like the teeth of
leaf has the shape of a lyre.
leaf is a lyrate leaf with sharp lobes pointing towards the base, as
in the dandelion.
leaf is one bearing considerable resemblance to the hand.
leaf is one bearing resemblance to a bird's foot.
leaf is one having the veins more developed beyond the middle of the
When a leaf
at its outer edge has no dentations it is said to be entire. When the
leaf terminates in an acute angle it is acute, when in an obtuse
angle it is obtuse. An obtuse leaf with the apex slightly depressed
is retuse, or if more strongly notched, emarginate. An obovate leaf
with a wider or more conspicuous notch at the apex becomes obcordate,
being a cordate leaf inverted.
apex is cut off by a straight transverse line the leaf is truncate:
when abruptly terminated by a small projecting point it is mucronate;
and when an acute leaf has a narrowed apex it is acuminate. In ferns
the leaves are called fronds.
assumes an endless variety of forms, and we shall assume in
dissection merely the typical form of it.
of the flower are of two sorts, viz: first, its leaves are envelopes;
and second, those peculiar organs having no resemblance to the
envelopes. The envelopes are of two kinds, or occupy two rows one
above or one within the other. The lower or outer row is termed the
Calyx, and commonly exhibits the green color of the leaves. The inner
row, which is usually of more delicate texture and forms the most
showy part of the flower, is termed the Corolla. The several parts of
the leaves of the Corolla are called petals, and the leaves of the
Calyx have received the analogous name of Sepals. The floral
envelopes are collectively called the Perianth.
essential organs enclosed within the floral envelope are also of two
kinds and occupy two rows one within the other. The first of these,
those next within the petals, are the Stamens. A stamen consists of a
stalk called the filament, which bears on its summit a rounded body
termed the Anther, Filled with a substance called the Pollen.
seed-bearing organs occupy the center of summit of a flower, and are
called Pistil's. A pistil is distinguished into three parts, viz:
first the Ovary, containing the Ovales; Second the Style, or columnar
prolongation of the ovary; and third the Stigma, or termination of
organs of the flower are situated on, or grown out of the apex of the
flower-stalk, into which they are inserted, and which is called the
Torus or Receptacle.
A plant is
said to me monoecious, where the stamens and pistile are in separate
flowers on the same individual, dioecious, where they occupy the
separate flowers on different individuals, and polygamous were the
stamens and pistils are separate in some flowers and united in
others, either on the same or two or three different plants.
principal kinds may be briefly stated as follows:
is the name given to such a fruit as borne by the larkspur or
A legume or
pod is the name extended to such fruit as the pea or bean.
A drupe is
a stone fruit, as the plum, apricot, etc..
is the name of the fruit as borne by the butter-cup, etc.
is the fruit of the poison Hemlock and similar plants.
is such fruit as borne by the wheat tribe.
A nut is
exemplified by the fruit of the oak, chestnut, etc.
A samara is
the name applied to the fruit of the maple, birch, and elm.
A berry is
a fruit fleshy and pulpy throughout, as the grape, gooseberry, etc.
A pome is
such as the apple, pear, ect.
A pepo is
the name applied to the fruit of the pumpkin, cucumber, etc.
is a general term for all dry fruit, such as lobelia, etc.
is such fruit as exhibited in shepherd's purse, etc.
A cone or
strobile is a collective fruit of the fir tribe, magnolia etc.
like the ovule of which it is fertilized and matured state, consists
of a nucleus, usually enclosed within two integuments. The outer
integument or proper seed coat is variously termed the episperm,
spermoderm, or testa.
For more on
plants and their medical uses please go to the
Library in the Apprentice area's