Botanical name: 


A small plant of the fern kind. It is a foot high, and consists only of a single leaf. Several of these commonly rise from the same root, but each is a separate and entire plant. The stalk is naked for five inches, and from thence to the top stand on each side, a row of small, oblong, and narrow segments, resembling so many small leaves, with an odd one at the end. The whole plant is of a bright green colour, but the backs of these divisions of the leaf, are at a certain season, toward autumn, ornamented with a great number of round brown spots, these are the seeds: those of all ferns are carried in the same manner. The root is long, slender, and creeps upon the surface of old stumps of trees among the moss. The root is used, and it is best fresh; it is a safe and gentle purge; the best way of giving it is in decoction, in which form it always operates also by urine. It is good in the jaundice and dropsies, and is an excellent ingredient in diet-drinks against the scurvy; but beside these considerations, it is a safe and good purge, on all common occasions.

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