H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Ranunculus Aconitifolius - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Ranunculus Aconitifolius Described.
Ranunculus Aconitifolius - Aconite-leaved Crowfoot, or Bachelors' Buttons; Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceæ.
An herbaceous perennial, of the alpine parts of Europe, and for a long time cultivated in this country. It grows 1ft. high, is much branched in zigzag form, and produces numerous flowers, resembling those of the strawberry, but only about half the size; the leaves are finely cut and of a dark green colour; it is not a plant worth growing for its flowers, but the reason why I briefly speak of it here is that I may more properly introduce that grand old flower of which it is the parent, R. a. fl.-pl., the true "English double white Crowfoote," or Bachelor's Buttons; these are the common names which Gerarde gives as borne by this plant nearly 300 years ago, and there can be no mistaking the plant, as he figures it in his "Historie of Plantes," p. 812; true, he gives it a different Latin name to the one it bears at the present time; still, it is the same plant, and his name for it (R. albus multiflorus) is strictly and correctly specific. Numerous flowers are called Bachelor's Buttons, including daisies, globe flowers, pyrethrums, and different kinds of ranunculi, but here we have the "original and true;" probably it originated in some ancient English garden, as Gerarde says, "It groweth in the gardens of herbarists & louers of strange plants, whereof we have good plentie, but it groweth not wild anywhere."
Its round smooth stems are stout, zigzag, and much branched, forming the plant into a neat compact bush, in size (of plants two or more years old) 2ft. high and 2ft. through. The flowers are white, and very double or full of petals, evenly and beautifully arranged, salver shape, forming a flower sometimes nearly an inch across; the purity of their whiteness is not marred by even an eye, and they are abundantly produced and for a long time in succession. The leaves are of a dark shining green colour, richly cut—as the specific name implies—after the style of the Aconites; the roots are fasciculate, long, and fleshy.
This "old-fashioned" plant is now in great favour and much sought after; and no wonder, for its flowers are perfection, and the plant one of the most decorative and suitable for any position in the garden. In a cut state the flowers do excellent service. This subject is easily cultivated, but to have large specimens, with plenty of flowers, a deep, well enriched soil is indispensable; stagnant moisture should be avoided. Autumn is the best time to divide the roots.
Flowering period, May to July.
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