Rue-leaved Whitlow-Grass.

Botanical name: 

Paronychia rutacco folio.

A common little plant, early in spring, on our walls and houses, and of a very singular aspect; it is red, and has pretty white flowers. It is not more than four inches high; the stalks are round, upright, and a little hairy; and they are covered with an unctuous clamminess, which makes them stick to the fingers in handling. The leaves are little, and also red; they are each divided into three parts at the extremity, in the way of fingers: they stand irregularly on the stalks, and they are thick, fleshy, and clammy in handling. The flowers stand at the tops of the branches; they are little, but of a very bright white, and look very conspicuous. The whole plant dies away as soon as it has ripened the seed, and is not to be seen again till the next spring.

The fresh gathered plant is to be used entire: a strong infusion of it is a very great sweetener of the blood. It is excellent against the scurvy in whatever form; and there are accounts of its curing the king's evil, that seem very well attested. A syrup may be made of its juice, or of a very strong infusion of it; or a conserve of the leaves: for the dried plant has very little virtue, and it is to be had fresh only a very small part of the year.

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