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menyanthes trifoliata L.
- MENYANTHES: month; anthos, flower ( from its reputed power in promoting menstruation)
English: Buckbean, Marsh trifoil, Bogbean
Deutsch: Scharbocksklee, Bocksbohne, Sumpfbohne, Sumpfklee, Marschklee, Bitterklee, Fieberklee
Italian: Trifoglio fibriono
The whole fresh plant, gathered when budding to blossom, is to be chopped and pounded to a pulp, enclosed in a piece of a new linen and subjected to pressure. The expressed juice is then, by brisk agitation, mingled with an equal part by weight of alcohol. This mixture should then the poured into a well - stoppered bottle, and allowed to stand eight days in a dark, cool place. The tincture, separated from the mass by filtration, should be opaque, and in layers present a deep olive - green color by transmitted light. It should have a strong herbaceous odor, lasting, extremely bitter taste, and a strong acid reaction.
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Cornidae; Gentianales; Menyanthaceae (is put under Gentianaceae by some)
History and authority: Proved and introduced by Demeures, J.d.l. Soc. Gal. IV, 115; Allen Encyclop Mat. Med., Vol. VI, 180, X, 578.
Description of the substance
Perennial plant of Europe and America having racemes of white or purplish flowers and intensely bitter trifoliate leaves; often rooting at water margin and spreading across the surface
The Buckbean, or Bogbean, grows in spongy bogs, marshes and shallow water throughout Europe, being rather scarce in the south of England, though common in the north and in Scotland.
---Description---It is a green, glabrous plant, with creeping rootstock and procumbent stem, varying in length according to situation, covered by the sheaths of the leaves, which are on long, fleshy, striated petioles and three-partite, the leaflets being entire and about 2 inches long and 1 broad. It blossoms from May to July, the flowers being borne on long stalks, 6 to 18 inches high, longer than the leaves and clustered together in a thick short spike, rendering them very conspicuous. The corollas, 3/4 inch across, are outwardly rose-coloured and inwardly white and hairy, with reddish stamens. The Buckbean is one of the prettiest of our wild flowers deserving of cultivation in the garden, where it grows and thrives well, if planted in peat with water constantly round the roots.
The leaves are 'like to those of the garden beane.'
The generic name, Menyanthes, is from two Greek words signifying month and flower. It was a name bestowed by Linnaeus, and it has been suggested that the plant was so called because it remains in flower for a month; but it is actually often in bloom during May, June and July!
One of the older writers describes its inflorescence as a 'bush of feather-like floures of a white colour, dasht ouer slightly with a wash of light carnation.'
Buckbean has a reputation for preserving sheep from rot, but it is doubtful whether they really touch it, on account of its extreme bitterness.