Trollius Laxus.

Botanical name: 

Plate 12. Trollius Laxus. Natural Order Ranunculaceae, Tribe Helleboreae.

DESCRIPTION.—This is a rare plant, even to botanists. It grows in deep swamps in a few localities from Michigan to New Hampshire, and south to New Jersey and Delaware. It is perennial, and in general appearance resembles a large-flowered species of Ranunculus (see Plate XII.). The leaves are generally one to two inches in diameter, but they are sometimes found even five or six inches broad. They are palmately divided, with many cleft segments; they are mostly radical, and borne on smooth leaf-stalks from four to eight inches long. The stems are one to two feet high, smooth, round, hollow, erect, nearly naked, bearing one or two leaves, the upper being near the flower, and sessile. Two or more stems often grow from the same bundle of coarse, fibrous roots, and the plants are disposed to form clusters, and, by developing a succession of stems, they continue in flower for some time. The flowers are terminal, large, and showy, usually of a light greenish-yellow color, but when exposed to the sun they are sometimes of a brighter or golden yellow. They are from one and a half to two inches in diameter. The sepals are generally five, spreading, petaloid, and tinged with green on the external or lower surface. The petals are more numerous, ten to fifteen; they are much smaller than the sepals, and shorter even than the stamens, and they might readily be mistaken for abortive stamens. They are of a deep yellow or orange color, gland-like, thickish, and have a tubular, nectariferous excavation on the inner side near the base. The stamens are numerous, with oblong or linear anthers. Fig. 44. Stamens and section of carpel Fig. 45. Pistils of Trollius Laxus. The pistils are ten to twenty, sessile, and arranged in a compact whorl. The fruit is a capitate whorl of dry, veiny follicles, tipped by the persistent style, and opening at the apex. Each follicle contains from five to ten angular seeds. The plant is not plentiful enough in this country to have received any common name from the people, but in the text-books it is known as Globeflower, which name properly belongs to the European species, Trollius europaeus, the sepals of which are convergent into a globular shape. In the American plant the calyx is spreading, and the name Globeflower as applied to our native species is entirely inappropriate, though in order to distinguish our plant from the European species it is sometimes designated as the American Globeflower or the Spreading Globeflower.

MEDICAL PROPERTIES.—The medical properties of this plant have never been properly investigated, and it is not really entitled to a place in this work. We prepared our engraving on the promise of a physician in a neighborhood favored by an abundant growth of the plant, and who promised to investigate it, and prepare a paper on its medical properties. He was prevented from making the investigation, however, and we are unable to present any definite information on this head.] On the authority of Lee, [1848.—Catalogue of the Medical Plants of the State of New York, p. 4.] which induced us to consider it, the medical properties of this plant resemble those of Ranunculus. If this is the case, and we are by no means assured that anemonin exists in it, we here have a plant belonging to the Helleboreae, where it is placed by its botanical structure, but related in its medical properties to plants of the tribe Anemoneae.

Drugs and Medicines of North America, 1884-1887, was written by John Uri Lloyd and Curtis G. Lloyd.