Chap. 059. Bear's Ears. // NOT DONE YET.

Bear's Ears.

I. The Names. They know no Greek Name, but have obtained several Latin ones, according to the variety of Authors, who have treated of them: but they may well enough be called in Greek, ****: They are called variously by several Authors, as Lunaria Arthritica, also Lunaria Paralytica Alpina; and Sanicula Alpina, by Gesner: Primula veris Pachyphyllos, by Lugdun: Auricula Ursi, by Matthiolus, Bauhinus, and others: and at this day they are so generally called by Mr. Ray, and other Authors. Some Authors, as Fabius Columna, will have them to be the Alisma, or Damasonium of Dioscorides, but are, in my opinion, mistaken, because the form of the Flowers plainly demonstrate the contrary: in English they are generally called Bears-Ears, and Auricula's by the Florists. They are certainly of the Family of the Cowslips, and therefore are also called Alpine Cowslips, and Mountain Cowslips, from the places whence they first came: Sanicula Alpina, Alpine or Mountain Sanicle, à sanandis vulneribus: and Auricula's from the form of the Leaf.

II. The Kinds. There are three principal Kinds, as 1. That with long dented Leaves. 2. That with long Leaves not dented. 3. That with round Leaves; and of each of these there are many varieties: as, the Yellow: the Purple: the Red: the Scarlet: the Bright Red: the Blush-coloured: the Various-coloured: the Blew: the White: the Hair-coloured: the Straw-coloured: and the Variable Green.

III. The Description. Those with long dented Leaves (of which the Yellow kind is principal) which is a beautiful fine Plant, has a thready Root, very like to the Oxlip; which sends forth green, thick, and fat Leaves, somewhat finely snipt about the Edges, much like to those of Cowslips, but greener, smoother, and nothing so crumpled: among which arises up a slender, round Stem, an handful high, bearing a Tuft of Flowers at the Top, from six to twelve in number; sometimes of a Yellow, sometimes of a Purple, or Red, and sometimes of a White colour, or various coloured, not much unlike to the Flowers of Ox-lips, but more open, and consisting of one only Leaf like Cotiledon, or Pennywort: after which come small heads with a pointel at Top of them, not rising to the height of the Cups, containing small blackish Seed.

IV. Those with long Leaves not dented, have a Root greater and thicker than the former, with long strings or fibres like unto the other sorts, but greater; from whence springs up many fair, large, thick Leaves, somewhat mealy or hoary upon the greenness, smooth about the Edges, and without any indenting at all. The Stalk is great, round, and not higher than in the former, but bearing many more flowers thereon, more in number than any other kind, amounting sometimes to twenty or more, yea sometimes to thirty, standing so round and close together, that they seem to be a Nose-gay alone: their form is like some others, but that the Leaves are shorter and rounder, yet with a notch in the middle, like the rest, of a fair Yellow, &c. colour, neither very pale nor deep, with a White Eye or Circle in the bottom, about the middle of every Flower, giving them an extraordinary grace; after which comes round heads greater than the former, with a small pointel striking in the middle, in which is contained Seed of a blackish brown colour.

V. The round Leav’d, which Tabermontanus, and Gerard, call Sanicula alpina; and Matthiolus, Cortusa, and we Bears-Ear sanicle; has a Root consisting of a thick Tuft of small whitish Threads, rather than Roots, much interlaced one among another: from whence spring up Leaves; first, such as are much crumpled, and as it were folded together, which afterwards open themselves into fair, broad and roundish Leaves, somewhat rough, or hairy, not only cut into five divisions, but somewhat notched also about the edges, of a dark green colour on the upper side, and more whitish green underneath. The Leaves of this Plant die down every Year, and rise up anew every Spring, whereas all other Bears-Ears keep their Leaves green all the Winter, especially the middlemost, which stand like a close head, the outwardmost for the most part perishing after Seed[time]

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Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
The first part of this chapter has been proofread by Helena P.