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LINUM USITATISSIMUM. COMMON FLAX.
Class V. Pentandria. Order V. Pentagynia.
Gen. Char. Calyx five-leaved. Petals five. Capsules five-valved, ten-celled. Seeds solitary.
Spe. Char. Calyx and capsules mueronate. Petals crenate. Leaves lanceolate, alternate. Stem generally solitary.
The root is annual, simple and fibrous; the stalk is erect, round, smooth, branched towards the top, and rises from one to two feet in height; the branches are simple, alternate, and terminated by the flowers, which are solitary, and of a sky-blue color; the leaves are lance-shaped, acute, sessile, smooth, glaucious, vertical, and alternately scattered over the stalk and branches; the calyx is divided into five segments, which are semi-lance-shaped, pointed, and slightly fringed with small hairs; the corolla is funnel-shaped, consisting of five petals, which are large, obovate, striated, and minutely scolloped at their extremities; the filaments are five, tapering, upright, about the length of the calyx, united at the base, and crowned with simple anthers; the germcn is oval; the five styles are filiform, erect, and furnished with reflected stigmas; the capsule is globular, divided into five valves and ten cells; the seeds are solitary, glossy, and of a flat, oval shape. It is supposed to be a native of Egypt, and by some was thought to be obtained from the great plains of central Asia. It flowers in June and July, and ripens its fruit in August. Both the seeds and oil expressed from them are officinal.
Flax is an article of such extensive utility for various economical purposes, that the plant which furnishes it has obtained the trivial name of usitatissimum; and when it is considered that its seeds afford an oil equally useful in arts and in medicine, it may wrell be deemed an object of national importance Sensible of this, the society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce, in England, has laudably endeavored to promote and extend its cultivation throughout the different parts of Europe, and not without success, as it is now extensively cultivated there as well as in most parts of the United States. The seed, which is directed for medical use, especially the interior part or nucleus, is very rich in a peculiar oil, which is separated by expression, and very extensively used in the various arts. The ground seed can be found in the different shops, under the name of flax-seed meal. This is of a dark grey color, highly oleaginous, and when mixed with warm water forms a very soft, pliable, adhesive mass, which is much employed by practical chemists for luting. The cake which remains after the expression of the oil, usually called oilcake, still retains the mucilaginous matter of the envelope, and affords a highly nutritious food for cattle. This is the Lini Farina of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia.
Medical Properties and Uses. "Flax-seed is demulcent and emollient. The mucilage obtained by infusing the entire seed in boiling water, in the proportion of half an ounce to the pint, is much and very advantageously employed in catarrh, dysentery, nephritic and calculous complaints, strangury, and other inflammatory affections of the mucous membranes of the lungs, intestines, and urinary organs. By decoction water extracts also a portion of the oleaginous matter, which renders the mucilage less fit for administration by the mouth, but superior as a laxative enema."—U. S. Dispensatory.
RUBUS IMUS. RASPBERRY BUSH.
Class XII. Icosandria. Order V. Poltgnia.
Gen. Char. Calyx five-cleft. Berry composed of one-seeded ocini.
Spe. Char. Leaves quinate, pinnate, and ternate, tomentose underneath. Petioles channelled. Stem prickly.
The stems of the Raspberry are biennial, upright, branching, three or four feet high, of a reddish color, and thickly covered with very stiff bristles; the leaves are rough, veined, serrated, downy on the under side, and composed of five or three pairs of oval pinna?, terminated by an odd one; the flowers terminate the branches in panicles, and appear in succession; the calyx is divided into five oblong expanding segments; the corolla consists of five petals, which are upright, blunt, narrow, white, and inserted into the calyx; the filaments are numerous, somewhat shorter than the petals, fixed to the calyx, and terminated with roundish compressed anthers; the germens are numerous, and each supports a short capillary style, furnished with a simple, permanent stigma; the fruit is a red berry, composed of several roundish granulations, collected into a knob, which is convex above, concave beneath, and placed upon a conical receptacle; each granulation has one cell, containing an oblong seed.
The Raspberry is a native of Europe, but has now become naturalised to this country, growing spontaneously in the different states, from Maine to Georgia, seeking moist situations, woods, hedges, rocky mountains, and the most inaccessible waste places, flowering in May