H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Dentaria Digitata - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Dentaria Digitata Described.
Dentaria Digitata - Toothwort; Nat. Ord. Cruciferæ.
A hardy, tuberous perennial, native of Switzerland, but long cultivated in British gardens, and decidedly "old-fashioned."
Imagine a spray of pale purple wallflower, and that will give some idea of the form and colour of its flowers, which are produced on round wiry stems, nearly a foot high, in terminal racemes. The leaves, which are produced mostly in threes on a stem, have a channelled petiole, and, as the specific name denotes, are spread out like fingers, mostly of five parts; a five-cut leaf of a Christmas rose will give a fair notion of the form, but the Toothwort leaves are less, not so thick, and more herb-like than the hellebore; they are also finely, deeply, but irregularly toothed. The roots are of singular form, almost like human teeth, arranged as scales, whence the name Toothwort. Its first appearance above ground is in February, when the young growths are bent or folded like those of the anemone, and in genial seasons it will flower early in March.
It loves both a little shade and moisture. I grow it at the base of a bit of rockwork, in black or leaf mould; the aspect is south-east, but an old sun-dial screens it from the midday sun. The whole plant has a somewhat quaint appearance, but it has proved a great favourite. When the tops have died down the roots can safely be lifted, cut in lengths of one or two inches, and then replanted. It also produces seed freely, but from the easy method of increase by root division, I have not had occasion to experiment with seed.
Flowering period, March to May.
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