Also see: Round-rooted Birthwort - The Virginia Snakeroot Plant.
A wild plant in Italy, and the south of France; but with us found only in the gardens of the curious. It has no great beauty, or even singularity in its appearance, till examined. The stalks are a foot and a half long, but weak; they are square, and of a dusky green colour. The leaves are short, broad, and roundish, of a dusky green; also the flowers are long, hollow, and of an odd form, not resembling the flowers of other plants: they are of a dusky greenish colour on the outside, and purple within: the fruit is fleshy, and as big as a small walnut. The root is large and roundish.
The root is the only part used in medicine, and that we have from countries where the plant is native; it is a rough and disagreeable medicine; it often offends the stomach, but it is an excellent drug for promoting the necessary evacuations after delivery.
There are two other kinds of birthwort, the root of which are also kept in the shops; the one called the long birthwort; the other the climbing birthwort. They possess the same virtues with tbs round, but in a less degree, and are therefore less regarded.