V. RETICULATUM and V. LAEVIGATUM are rarely seen species, but of interest botanically, if not for floral beauty.
V. TINUS.—Laurustinus. South Europe, 1596. So commonly cultivated a shrub needs no description here, sufficient to say that the handsome evergreen foliage and pretty pinky-white flowers assign to it a first position amongst hardy ornamental flowering shrubs, V. Tinus strictum has darker foliage than the species, is more upright, rather more hardy, but not so profuse in the bearing of flowers. V. Tinus lucidum (Glossy-leaved Laurustinus), of the several varieties of Laurustinus has the largest foliage, finest flowers, and altogether is of the most robust growth. It is, unfortunately, not very hardy, probably in that respect not even equalling the parent plant. Usually it does not flower freely, neither are the flowers produced so early as in the species, but individually they are much larger. It is of tall growth, and rarely forms the neat, dense bush, for which the common shrub is so admired. V. Tinus rotundifolium has rounded leaves; and V. Tinus rotundifolium variegatum has irregularly variegated leaves.
VINCA MAJOR.—Band-plant, Cut-finger, and Larger Periwinkle. Europe (Britain). For trailing over tree-stumps or rockwork this pretty evergreen shrub has a distinctive value, the bright green leaves and showy deep blue flowers rendering it both conspicuous and ornamental. V. major elegantissima is a decided variety, the leaves being neatly and evenly variegated, and making the plant of great value for bank or rock-work decoration.
V. MINOR.—Lesser Periwinkle. This is of much smaller growth than the preceding, and differs, too, in not having the leaf-margins ciliated. The variety V. minor flore-albo has white flowers, those of the normal plant being pale blue; V. minor flore-pleno differs in having double blue flowers; V. minor foliis aureis has golden-tinted leaves; and V. minor foliis argenteis bears silvery mottled and very attractive foliage.
They are all of simple growth, succeeding well in somewhat shady situations, and in by no means the richest of soil. As they run about freely and soon cover an extent of ground they are rendered of great value for a variety of purposes.
VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS.—Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, and Monk’s Pepper-tree. A South European shrub (1670), growing from 6 feet to 10 feet high, with digitate leaves that are almost hoary beneath, and spikes of small violet flowers. It is not very hardy, although in some of the warmer parts of southern England and Ireland, fair-sized, healthy-looking specimens are now and then to be met with. As a wall plant, however, it succeeds best, and for which purpose, with its neat foliage and pretty flowers, it is peculiarly suitable.