Fleeting beauty

A native of still slow waters, and the epitome of high summer; our largest and most attractive wild flower is the white waterlily. Opening only in full sunshine, it has long been celebrated for its fleeting beauty. But it has attracted attention for a whole variety of curious reasons. Elizabethans dabbed on its dew to remove their freckles, and ate its seeds to promote chaste thoughts. The stems, once eaten as a delicacy, were reputedly a cure for baldness when mixed with tar. But it is the beauty of its flowers that has brought it the most dangerous attention and it has been long plundered to decorate garden ponds.

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