|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Comptonia (Henry Compton, Bishop of London, patron of horticulture, died 1713). Myricaceae. A small native shrub, useful for covering banks and to grow on sterile sandy and stony soil.
The genus is allied to Myrica, and by some not regarded as sufficiently different in botanical characters to justify separate generic rank: branching brown- twigged bush, dicecious or monoecious, with globular fertile catkins, the 1-celled ovary surrounded by 8 linear persistent scales or bractlets: Lvs. long-oblong, pinnatifld: fr. a bur-like axillary head of few small nuts. The only species is C. asplenifolia, Gcertn. (C. peregrina, Coulter. Myrica asplenifolia, Linn.) Sweet Fern. In dry, sterile soil in the E. and N. U. S.; also in the trade. It is an attractive undershrub (1-3 ft.) with fern-like, scented foliage and brownish heads of imperfect fls.: roots long and cord-like: staminate catkins 1 in. or less long, slender, in clusters at the ends of the branchlets. CH
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