The Meadow Sweet grows abundantly all summer by the side of streams and in damp places. Many a time its delightful scent has tempted us to gather it in handfuls.
The flowers are creamy white, and are very small, with a great many yellow stamens in the centre. They grow in large clusters on short branching stalks, and the buds look like tiny ivory balls set in small green cups. You often see two or more branched stalks which shoot high above the mass of open flowers, bearing a great many closed buds. When the flowers are withered, the five green sepals fold back against the stem.
The green leaves of the Meadow Sweet are dark and rough above, but underneath they are covered with white down. They have a central leaf-stalk, and on each side of the stalk grow a pair of big leaflets and a pair of small leaflets alternately. Sometimes two pairs of very small leaflets may come together, and at the end of the stalk you always find one big leaflet which has several points.
The stem of this plant is hard, and it has lines running from end to end. Where the flower-stalk and the leaf-stalk join this stem, you find a curious green sheath, which seems to clasp them all together, and this sheath has sharply cut edges.
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