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Description. This is a rank poisonous plant, that grows about a foot high, and has but few leaves, but they are large; the stalk is round, thick, whitish, pointed, and a little hairy: the leaves stand principally towards the top, four, five, or six, seldom more; they are long, and considerbly broad, sharp-pointed, notched about the edges, and a little hairy. The flowers are considerable; they stand in a kind of spikes at the top of the stalks, and the seeds are on separate plants; they are double, and roundish.

Place. It is most commonly found under hedges.

Time. In the early part of the year it makes a very pretty appearance.

Government and virtues. This species of mercury has been confounded with others of the same name, with which it has been thought to agree in nature. But there is not a more fatal plant, native of our country, than this. The common herbals, as Gerard's and Parkinson's, instead of cautioning their readers against the use of this plant, after some trifling, idle observations upon the qualities of mercuries in general, dismiss the article without noticing its baneful effects. Other writers, more accurate, have done this; but they have written in Latin, a language not likely to inform those who stand most in need of this caution. This is one of the reasons for compiling of this work.


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