Plant 2

The plants are graceful, with light, spreading, pinnate (resembling a  feather; having parts or branches arranged on each side of a common  axis)foliage, presenting an almost feathery appearance from a  distance. The leaflets (like those of the False Acacia) hang down during the night on each side of the midrib, though they do not meet beneath  it. From the axils of the leaves spring racemes or spikes of  papilionaceous (bilaterally symmetrical corolla somewhat resembling a  butterfly) small pale-blue, violet, yellowish-white or purplish flowers, followed by small pods somewhat resembling a partly-grown pea pod in  form.

The underground system, as in so many Leguminosae, is double, the one part  consisting of a vertical or tap root, often with several branches  penetrating to a depth of 3 or 4 feet, the other of horizontal rhizomes, or stolons, thrown off from the root below the surface of the ground,  which attain a length of many feet. These runners are furnished with  leaf buds and throw up stems in their second year. The  perennial downward-running roots as well as the long horizontal stolons  are equally preserved for use.

Liquorice grows best on sandy soil near streams, usually not being found in the  wild condition more than 50 yards from water. It will not flourish on  clay and prefers the rich, fine soil of bottom lands in river valleys,  where there is an abundance of moisture during the growing  period, but where the ground bakes hard during the hot, late summer  months, when the dry heat is very favourable for the formation of the  sweet constituents.

The plant succeeds most in a warm climate; not only can it not endure  severe freezing, but cool weather interferes with the formation of its  useful juice and renders it woody. It has been found that a climate  particularly  favourable to the production of the orange is favourable to that of  Liquorice.

Owing to the depth to which the root penetrates and its ready propagation  from detached pieces, the plant is a most persistent weed in cultivated  grounds where it is indigenous and exceedingly difficult of remove by  the roots. It is very healthy and robust and very little  subject to disease, at the same time successfully occupying the ground  to the exclusion of other plants. For this reason, the continuation of  the natural supply may be considered as assured, though it is liable to  suffer severe reduction from over-collection.


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