A foreign plant, kept in our gardens more for its beauty than use. The stem is thick, and looks woody toward the bottom. It grows six feet high, and on the upper part is covered with a sort of mealy powder, of a bluish colour. The leaves are large, and very beautiful. They are somewhat like those of the vine, but they are divided deeply into seven or more parts, which are also sharply serrated at the edges, and they stand upon long foot stalks, which are not inserted at the edge, but in the middle of the leaf. The flowers are small: they grow in bunches toward the top of the plant. The seeds grow upon the trunk of the plant in different places: three are contained in husks, and they have over them severally a hard shell.
The kernels of these seeds are the part used, but they are very little regarded at present. There used to be three or four kinds of them kept by the druggists, under different names, but nobody now minds them: they are very violent in their operation, which is both upwards and downwards, and have been given in dropsies and rheumatisms.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.