Fool's Stones.

Botanical name: 

Plate 21. Satyrium sive orchis.

A beautiful wild plant in our meadows and pastures in June. The leaves are long and spotted, and the flowers are purple. It grows ten inches high. The leaves are six inches long, and three quarters of an inch broad, of a very deep green, with large and irregular blotches of black in different parts. The stalk is round, thick, upright, single, and fleshy; it has two or three smaller leaves of the same figure, and at the top stand the flowers, in a spike of an inch and a half long; they are not very large, and of a shape different from the generality of flowers; their colour is a deep and glossy purple; but sometimes they are white. The whole plant is juicy. The root consists of two round bulbs or two round lumps, like a pair of testicles, and is white and full of a slimy juice.

The root is the only part used. It is supposed to be a strengthener of the parts of generation, and a promoter of venereal desires; but with what truth one cannot say. Externally applied in cataplasms, it is excellent in hard swellings. There are a great many other kinds of orchis in our meadows, but only this is used. The root, called salep by our druggists, is brought from Turkey, and is the root of a plant of this kind. It is strengthening and restorative, good in consumptions and all decays.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.