No. 89. Statice caroliniana.
Names. American Thrift.
Fr. Statice d'Amerique.
Vulgar. Marsh Rosemary, Marsh Root, Seaside Thrift, Inkroot, Sea Lavender.
Classif. Nat Order of Staticea. Pentandria monogynia L.
Genus STATICE. Calyx monophyllous, scarious, and plaited. Petals 5. Stamens 5, inserted on their claws. One pistil, 5 styles. One seed, invested by the calyx.
Sp. Statice Caroliniana. Walter. Radical leaves petiolate cuneate obtuse, acutely mucronate, smooth and flat: stem round panicled, flowers geminate, in unilateral spikes.
Description. Root perennial, large, fleshy, fusiform or branched, premose or obtuse, purplish brown. Radical leaves, erect on long petioles, cuneiform, very smooth, with only one nerve, end broader obtuse, but with an acute point, quite entire and flat on the margin. Scapes round, smooth, one or two feet high, loosely panicled above, branches alternate, ramules unilateral, pointing upwards, flowers the same at the ends of the ramules, small, subsessile, each axillary to an ovate mucronate scaly bract, commonly geminate, upon a short scaly and forked peduncle. Calyx funnel shaped, 5 angled, 5 teethed, angles ciliate. Petals blue, spatulate obtuse. Pistil small obovate, 5 styles shorter than the stamens. Seed oblong.
History. This plant is deemed by many a variety of St. limonium of Europe, which, however, differs by the leaves oblong undulate and larger flowers, while the St. gmeiini or Asiatic, akin species, has obovate leaves and angular scapes. It was first distinguished by Walter, and grows on our sea shores, near salt marshes, from New England to Florida. It blossoms in summer. The varieties are: 1. Albiflora. 3. Cespitosa. 3. Pumila. 4. Ramosissima. 3. Longifolia. It is strange that the name of Rosemary, belonging to a very different shrub, the Rosmarinus officinalis, should be given to this plant in America: the true English name is Thrift. Neither the root nor plant has any smell.
Properties. The root is the officinal part; it is one of the most powerful vegetable astringent and styptic, even stronger than St. limonium, Geranium maculatum, and Kino, and equal to Galls, since an equal quantity of both makes ink equally black. It contains tannin, gallic acid, extractive, muriate of soda, &c. Water and alcohol are both solvents of it, but the last is even stronger, and the cold infusion more powerful than the hot. The roots are kept in shops: they are chiefly used in aphtha, ulcers of the mouth and throat, debility, hemorrhage, cynanche maligna, relaxed bowels, cholera infantum, chronic dysentery, &c. in which they are eminently beneficial, being also antiseptic. It often avails when other astringents and tonics have failed. It is a kind of specific, as a gargle, in ulcerous sore throat or scarlatina anginosa. In dysentery, it must be given after purgatives. It has been employed also in a wash or injections, in gonorrhea, gleets, and immoderate flow of menses. For internal use, the decoction or infusion sweetened (or a syrup) may be employed in small repeated doses. The taste is very styptic and somewhat bitter; it may be made more palatable by some aromatics. These useful properties are well attested and admitted by all physicians. Zollickoffer alone states that it is sudorific and emetic, but probably by mistake.
Medical Flora, or Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America, Vol. 2, 1830, was written by C. S. Rafinesque.